Lee Heidhues 1.8.2023
Two years after now infamous January 6, 2021 when American insurrectionists, at the urging of Donald Trump, attempted a Coup d’etat history is repeating itself in Brazil.
The scenes of the violence being caused by supporters of defeated President Jair Bolsonaro are eerily reminiscent of what happened in Washington DC two years ago.
Excerpted from The Guardian 1.8.2023
Hundreds of hardcore supporters of Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, have stormed the country’s congress, presidential palace and supreme court in a stunning security breach that was immediately compared to the 6 January invasion of the US Capitol by followers of Donald Trump in 2021.
“What we are witnessing is a terrorist attack,” the news anchor Erick Bang announced on the GloboNews television network as word of the upheaval spread. “The three buildings have been invaded by coup-mongering terrorists.”
Shocking video footage showed the pro-Bolsonaro militants sprinting up the ramp into the Palácio do Planalto, the presidential offices, roaming the building’s corridors and vandalising the nearby supreme court, whose windows had been smashed.
Soon after another prominent Lula ally, André Janones, shared footage that showed scores of radicals inside the grounds of the Palácio do Planalto, the presidential offices where last week’s inauguration ceremony was held.
“Terrorists have invaded the Planalto,” Janones tweeted.
Portugal’s foreign minister, João Gomes Cravinho, told Reuters that he believed “without a doubt” that Bolsonaro was responsible for the scenes, adding: “His voice is heard by these anti-democratic demonstrators.”
World leaders were quick to condemn the upheaval, which Chile’s president, Gabriel Boric, denounced as a “disgraceful” and “cowardly and vile attack on democracy”.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, condemned the stormings in a tweet on Sunday night, saying: “I offer my full support to president Lula and to the institutions that were freely and democratically chosen by the Brazilian people. We categorically condemn the assault on the congress of Brazil and call for an immediate return to democratic normality.”
Observers have spent months warning that Bolsonaro hardliners might stage a South American version of the US’s Capitol invasion in the hope of overturning Lula’s win. During his tumultuous four-year administration, Bolsonaro repeatedly hinted that a military takeover might be in the works and battled to undermine Brazil’s internationally respected electronic voting system.
BBC – 1.8.2023
‘This is about more than just the Bolsonaro defeat’
South America correspondent in São Paulo
It’s important to state that this is not just about Jair Bolsonaro’s defeat – it’s more than that.
Many of the supporters I’ve spoken to in the past couple of months have said he’s less relevant than he was.
What the hardline protestors want more than anything is Lula back in prison, not in the presidential palace.
It’s their fear of communism and incorrect view that Lula is a communist that is fuelling their anger more than anything.
Jair Bolsonaro was the vehicle for that anger – he was the person to displace Lula.
But he has been very quiet since losing (even flying off to Florida to avoid the inauguration) – and even he has not been as hardline as those backing him.
Some people argue Bolsonaro is irrelevant – it’s only the army that can save Brazil.
This a country where military rule is still very acceptable among a sizeable part of the population.
So while it is straight out of the Trump playbook in many ways, there are deep Brazilian roots in all of this and a throw back to the Cold war fear of communism.