Security forces regain control after Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazil’s Congress
Supporters of Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro besieged Congress and other buildings in the capital Brasilia on Sunday, calling for a military takeover of Brazil’s government.
By nightfall, security forces had regained control of the damaged buildings, Justice and Public Security Minister Flavio Dino said. Dino said about 200 people were arrested, while the district governor said more than 400 people were arrested.
Many Bolsonaro supporters refuse to accept the former right-wing leader’s defeat in an election two months ago to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office a week ago.
Besides the Congress House, videos and photos of the scenes posted on social media also showed people storming and looting the nearby Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court. Groups of Bolsonaro supporters known as “Bolsanaristas” were seen breaking through security barriers and clashing with police who appeared to use pepper spray on them.
Congress offices were closed as mobs ran up the ramp of the Congress building, climbed onto the roof and smashed windows. As part of the crowd, many draped in the Brazilian national flag or its colors were seen recording the attack on their phones. President da Silva, who was in Sao Paulo state, called the attack “barbarism” by a “fascist” group.
He also blamed the lack of real security. At a press conference after the attack, Da Silva announced the appointment of a new security chief in the Federal District who will report directly to him.
Dino said the federal government has sent reinforcements, adding that they are already working with the available troops. “This absurd attempt” to impose his will not prevail, he said in a tweet earlier in the day.
After Bolsonaro’s narrow defeat by da Silva in October, Bolsonaro’s supporters have protested the victory by camping out in front of army barracks across the country, blocking roads and calling for the armed forces to intervene and cancel the election.