Biden, Lula condemn riots in Brazil; police detain over 1,200 supporters of ex-president Bolsonaro - GulfToday

Biden, Lula condemn riots in Brazil; police detain over 1,200 supporters of ex-president Bolsonaro


Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro clash with security forces during an invasion to Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia Sunday. AFP

Brazilian authorities vowed on Monday to protect democracy and punish thousands of supporters of ex-President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed and trashed the nation’s highest seats of power in chaos with striking similarities to the Jan.6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.

The protesters swarmed into Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace on Sunday. Many have said they want the Brazilian army to restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power and oust the newly inaugurated leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Police broke down a pro-Bolsonaro encampment outside a military building on Monday and detained some 1,200 people there, the justice ministry’s press office told reporters.

Lula and the heads of the Supreme Court, Senate and Lower House also signed a letter on Monday denouncing acts of terrorism and vandalism and saying they were taking legal measures. In a news conference from Sao Paulo state, Lula read a freshly signed decree for the federal government to assume control of security in the federal district.

He said that the so-called “fascist fanatics,” as well as those who financed their activities, must be punished, and also accused Bolsonaro of encouraging their uprising.

US President Joe Biden, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly said on Monday that “Canada, Mexico, and the United States condemn the Jan.8 attacks on Brazil’s democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power. We stand with Brazil as it safeguards its democratic institutions.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed concern about the rioting and vandalism against state institutions in Brazil.

“Deeply concerned about the news of rioting and vandalism against the State institutions in Brasilia. Democratic traditions must be respected by everyone. We extend our full support to the Brazilian authorities,” Modi tweeted. Facebook parent Meta and Google’s video platform youtube said on Monday they were removing content supporting or praising the weekend ransacking of Brazilian government buildings by anti-democratic demonstrators.

Brazil’s Justice Minister Flávio Dino told reporters police have begun tracking those who paid for the buses that transported protesters to the capital.

At the news conference late on Sunday, Brazil’s minister of institutional relations said the buildings would be inspected for evidence including fingerprints and images to hold people to account, and that the rioters apparently intended to spark similar uprest nationwide. Rioters donning the green and yellow of the national flag on Sunday broke windows, toppled furniture, hurled computers and printers to the ground.

They punctured a massive Emiliano Di Cavalcanti painting at the presidential palace in seven places and completely destroyed other works of art. They overturned the U-shaped table at which Supreme Court justices convene, ripped a door off one justice’s office and vandalised an iconic statue outside the court.

The monumental buildings’ interiors were left in states of ruin. Monday’s arrests came in addition to the 300 held Sunday while caught in the act. But police were noticeably slow to react - even after the arrival of more than 100 buses — leading many to ponder whether authorities had either simply ignored numerous warnings, underestimated the protesters’ strength, or been somehow complicit. Public prosecutors in the capital said local security forces had at very least been negligent.

A supreme court justice temporarily suspended the regional governor. Another justice blamed authorities for not swiftly cracking down on budding neofascism in Brazil.


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