Wall Street Times

Bolsonaro: Congress attackers will face the law

Image Source: DW

After people who supported the country’s former leader, Jair Bolsonaro, broke into Congress, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil promised to punish them.

Supporters of the far-right leader who was taken out of power also took over the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.

But on Sunday evening, after hours of fighting, the government took back control of the buildings in Brasilia’s capital.

Brasilia’s Civil Police says that 300 people have been arrested, and they have sworn to find any more suspects.

On Monday morning, heavily armed police officers gathered outside a camp of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters in the city. This camp is one of many that have been set up outside army facilities across the country since the election in October.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court put Ibaneis Rocha, the governor of Brasilia, on a 90-day leave.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes said he should have stopped the trouble and not been “painfully silent” during the attack. Mr. Rocha said he was sorry for what happened on Sunday.

Pro-democracy marches are being called for by leftist leaders and groups all over Brazil.

Only a week after Lula became president, thousands of protesters wearing yellow Brazil football jerseys and banners beat up the police and ransacked the center of the Brazilian state.

On Sunday night, he went around the Supreme Court building to look at the damage.

The experienced left-wing leader had to call a state of emergency before sending the national guard to the capital to restore order.

He also said that the main boulevard where government buildings are located and the center of the capital should be closed for 24 hours.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino said that 40 buses taking protesters to the capital were seized, and he called the invasion a “ridiculous attempt to force [the protesters’] will.”

Bolsonaro refuses election result

Mr. Bolsonaro has refused over and over again to admit that he lost the election in October. Last week, he left the country instead of attending the inauguration, where he would have given the new president the famous presidential sash.

Six hours after the riots started, the 67-year-old, who is thought to be in Florida, sent out a tweet saying he didn’t support the rioters.

He also went after the security forces, saying they were “incompetent, bad-faith, or evil” for not stopping protesters from getting into Congress.

Some protesters broke windows, while others rushed into the Senate chamber by jumping on chairs and sliding down benches.

Social media shows protesters pulling a police officer off his horse and beating him outside the building.

Police detaining many yellow-shirted protesters in front of the presidential palace can be seen on national TV.

Other suspects are being led out of the building with their wrists tied behind their backs.

Since the morning, protesters had been gathering in front of the parliament and along the one-kilometer-long Esplanada road, lined with government buildings and other national landmarks.

Even though the protesters tried, security seemed tight in the hours before the chaos. Roads were closed for almost a block around the parliament area, and pairs of armed police patrolled every entrance.

Local time on Sunday morning, the BBC saw about 50 police officers. Cars were turned away at access points, and people on foot were frisked as police checked their bags.

Bolsonaro supporters set up camps in cities all over Brazil, some near military facilities. This is because his most loyal supporters want the military to step in and fix what they say were rigged elections.

The camps in Brasilia had been taken down, and there had been no trouble on the day he was sworn in, so it seemed like Lula’s inauguration had slowed their progress.

But what happened on Sunday shows that those predictions were too early.

Katy Watson, the BBC’s South America correspondent, says that some protesters aren’t just upset that Jair Bolsonaro lost the election and want President Lula to be arrested again.

After being found guilty of corruption in 2017, he went to prison for 18 months. But his convictions were later thrown out after he had been in prison for more than nine years.

The leaders of Latin America have spoken out against the violence. Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, said that “fascists” were planning a coup, and both Colombia and Mexico had promised President Lula their full support.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro, both Democrats in the US Congress, have called for Bolsonaro’s extradition from the US. “The US must stop granting Bolsonaro asylum in Florida,” Ocasio-Cortez stated, comparing the rallies to the January 6 storming of the US Capitol. “Nearly two years after fascists attacked the US Capitol, we find fascist movements overseas attempting to do the same in Brazil.”

Read Also: Brazil: What we know about the rioting

The US president, Joe Biden, criticized what he called the “attack on democracy and the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil,” adding that Brazil’s democratic institutions “has the full support of the United States, and the will of the Brazilian people must not be compromised.”

Other countries have said similar things. For example, US Vice President Joe Biden criticized “the attack on democracy and the orderly transition of power in Brazil.”

The United Kingdom, China, and Turkey are among the other countries that have spoken out against the rioters.

Opinions expressed by The Wall Street Times contributors are their own.