Bloomberg Línea — Thousands of protesters climbed the ramp of the National Congress, in Brasilia, and took the external area of the building this Sunday afternoon (8), breaking the security blockade imposed by the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino. Many invaded the inner part of Congress, the Planalto Palace, and the Supreme Court (STF), with scenes of depredation in videos circulating on social networks.
In the early evening, the Military Police and the National Force managed to regain control of the buildings and disperse the protesters from the public buildings with the use of pepper spray and moral effect bombs.
The protesters, dressed in green and yellow and sympathizers of former president Jair Bolsonaro, question the result of the presidential elections, which gave victory to president Lula (PT). Since the end of the second round on October 30, supporters of the former president have protested on social networks and in different cities around the country and even blocked hundreds of roads and avenues in November.
President Lula was not in Brasilia at the time of the invasions. He was in Araraquara, in the interior of São Paulo, a region hit by heavy rains and flooding in recent days.
After the invasion, the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, expressed himself about the situation on Twitter.
“This absurd attempt to impose the will by force will not prevail. The Federal District government states that there will be reinforcements. And the forces we have been acting. I’m at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice,” said Dino.
On Saturday (7), the Minister of Justice authorized the use of the National Public Security Force “due to political demonstrations in the center of the federal capital,” in reference to caravans with demonstrators opposed to the election results.
The group was concentrated in recent days in front of the Army Headquarters (HQ).
Dino’s statement refers to the fact that security in Brasilia is the responsibility of governor Ibaneis Rocha (MDB), an ally of former president Jair Bolsonaro. The Public Security Secretary of the Federal District is former Justice Minister Anderson Torres, who is in the United States.
Rocha declared after the raid that he would exonerate Torres from the secretary’s post.
Bolsonaro left the country on December 30 and traveled to Orlando, in the United States, where he is still staying. Days after the second round, the then-president made a statement in which he gave authorization for the procedures for the transition to the elected government, in recognition of the defeat. The work was led by then Vice President Hamilton Mourão and key ministers.
On Sunday night (8), Bolsonaro published on his Twitter that “peaceful demonstrations, in the form of law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule”.
Bolsonaro also said that throughout his mandate, “I have always been within the four lines of the Constitution respecting and defending the laws, democracy, transparency and our sacred freedom. Furthermore, I repudiate the accusations, without proof, attributed to me by the current head of Brazil’s executive.”
Attack on the Capitol
The protesters’ attack harks back to the invasion of Capitol Hill, the seat of the US legislature, in Washington two years ago, on January 6, 2021, by demonstrators protesting then-President Donald Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election.
-- Updated at 9:56 a.m. ET on January 9 to include a tweet from Jair Bolsonaro