Bolsonaro Supporters Invade Brazil Presidential Palace, Congress, Supreme Court

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, December 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Supporters of Brazil‘s far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday invaded the country’s Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court in Brasilia, in a grim echo of the US Capitol invasion almost exactly two years ago by fans of former President Donald Trump.

The sight of thousands of yellow-and-green clad protesters wreaking havoc in the capital capped months of tension following the most fraught election for a generation. Bolsonaro, who lost the Oct. 30 vote to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, peddled the false claim that Brazil‘s electronic voting system was prone to fraud, spawning a violent movement of election deniers.

The invasion poses an immediate problem for Lula, who was only inaugurated on Jan. 1 and has pledged to unite a nation torn by Bolsonaro‘s nationalist populism. Television images showed protesters breaking into the Supreme Court and Congress, chanting slogans and smashing furniture. Local media estimated about 3,000 people were involved.

Lula was far from the capital, on an official trip to Sao Paulo state. Bolsonaro, who has barely spoken in public since losing the election, left Brazil for Florida 48 hours before the end of his mandate and was absent from Lula’s inauguration.

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