RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil authorities vowed on Monday to defend democracy. And punish thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro. Who stormed and destroyed the country’s highest seat of power in chaos with riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. .
Protesters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace on Sunday. Many have said they want Brazil’s military to restore right-wing Bolsonaro to power. And oust inaugurated leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Police broke up a pro-Bolsonaro encampment outside a military compound on Monday. And detained about 1,200 people, the Justice Ministry’s press office told The Associated Press.
Lula and the heads of the Supreme Court, Senate. And lower house also signed a letter on Monday condemning terrorism. And vandalism and said they were taking legal action.
Justice Minister Flavio Dino told reporters that police had begun looking for those. Who paid for buses transporting protesters to the capital. At a press conference late Sunday, Brazil’s institutional relations minister. Said buildings would be searched for evidence, including fingerprints. And images to keep people accountable. And that the rioters wanted to spread similar unrest nationwide.
They will not succeed in destroying Brazilian democracy. We have to say this completely, with all firmness and conviction,” Dino said. “We will not accept the path of crime to carry out political battles in Brazil. A criminal is treated like a criminal.”
Rioters donning the green and yellow of the national flag on Sunday broke windows, smashed furniture. And threw computers and printers on the ground. They punctured a huge Emiliano di Cavalcanti painting in seven places in the presidential palace. And completely destroyed other works of art. They overturned the U-shaped table where Supreme Court justices convene. Tore down a door of a judge’s office and vandalized an iconic statue outside the court. The interiors of the memorial buildings were left in ruins.
Besides to the 300 arrested on Monday, those caught in the act were caught on Sunday.
But even after more than 100 buses arrived – the police were slow to respond. Leading many to wonder if the authorities either ignored many warnings. Underestimated the strength of the protesters or were somehow complicit.
Public prosecutors in the capital said local security forces were at least negligent. A Supreme Court judge suspended the regional governor. Another judge blamed authorities for not cracking down on emerging neofascism in Brazil.
Still, Bolsonaro’s supporters refused to accept the results. They blocked roads and camped outside military buildings calling on the armed forces to intervene. Dino, the justice minister, referred to the camps as incubators of terrorism. The protests were peaceful, but isolated threats. Including a bomb found in a fuel truck headed for Brasilia’s airport — prompted security concerns.
Two days before Lula’s Jan. 1 inauguration, Bolsonaro flew to the United States and took up temporary house in Orlando. Many Brazilians expressed relief that. While he refused to take part in the transfer of power, his absence allowed it to happen without incident.
Or so it was until Sunday’s disaster.
“Bolsonerism imitates the same tactics as Trumpism. Our January 8 – an unprecedented revelation in Brazilian politics – is copied from January 6 in the Capitol.” Said Paulo Calmon, professor of political science at the University of Brasilia. “Today’s tragic episodes represent another attempt to destabilize democracy. And prove that authoritarian, populist extremism on Brazil’s far right remains active. Under former President Bolsonaro’s ‘Trump of Latin America’.”
US President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. . We stand by Brazil to protect its democratic institutions.”
Analysts told the AP that the coup could garner greater political support for Lula. The leader of Bolsonaro’s own party called the revolt “an embarrassment”.
“This could be the beginning of the end. The political system will want to isolate that radical movement. And move away from it,” said Mario Sergio Lima, political analyst at Medley Advisors. “What we’re going to see now is a genuine effort to create new alternatives and new leaders, and the center removes itself.”
At a news conference from São Paulo state. Lula read a signed decree for the federal government to regulate security in the federal district. He said that so-called “fascist fanatics” as well as those who financed. Their activities must be punished and also accused Bolsonaro of encouraging their rebellion.
Bolsonaro rejected the president’s accusations late on Sunday. Writing on Twitter, he said peaceful protests were part of democracy. But vandalism and attacks on public buildings were “exceptions to the regime”.
Unlike the 2021 attacks on the United States. Few officials worked in top government buildings on Sunday. And videos show a limited presence of the capital’s military police.
A video showed a group of protesters pushing through a police barricade. With only a few officers using pepper spray. Another stood by the officers as protesters stormed Congress. One of whom used his phone to record what was happening.
“It was a serious error by the federal district government. It predicted a tragedy,” said Thiago de Aragao, director of strategy at Arco Tell. A Brasilia-based political consultancy. “Everyone knew they (the protesters) were coming to Brasilia. The expectation was that the Federal District Government was going to mount a response to protect the capital. They didn’t do any of that.”
Lula said in his press conference that there was “incompetence or bad faith.” On the part of the police and he promised that some would be punished.
Federal District Governor Ibanez Rocha confirmed on Twitter. That he had fired Anderson Torres. Head of the capital city’s public security department – hours before a Supreme Court judge dismissed. The governor from office for “willful omission”.
“For two years since January 6, Trump’s legacy has poisoned. Our hemisphere,” tweeted US Sen. Bob Menendez. Who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blaming Bolsonaro for the incitement. “It is imperative to protect democracy and hold harmful actors accountable.”