RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who refuse to accept his election defeat stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace in the capital on Sunday, a week after the inauguration of his leftist rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on roofs, broke windows and invaded all three buildings, which are connected by the vast Three Powers Square in Brasilia. Some called for a military intervention to either restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power, or oust Lula from the presidency.
TV channel Globo News showed protesters roaming the presidential palace, many wearing the green and yellow colors of the national flag that also have come to symbolize the nation’s conservative movement, coopted by Bolsonaro.
The former president, who flew to the U.S. ahead of Lula’s inauguration, has not commented on Sunday’s events. The social media channels of his three lawmaker sons also were silent.
About 5:30 p.m. local time, less than three hours after the storming, security forces seemed to be regaining control of the presidential palace and Supreme Court’s surroundings, while thousands of protesters remained around Congress and on its roof.
The incidents recalled the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Political analysts have warned for months that a similar storming was a possibility in Brazil, given that Bolsonaro has sown doubt about the reliability of the nation’s electronic voting system — without any evidence. The results were recognized as legitimate by politicians from across the spectrum, as well as dozens of foreign governments.
Unlike the 2021 attack in the U.S., it is likely that few officials were working in the Brazilian Congress and Supreme Court on a Sunday.
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