The adage that history repeats itself has proven true in Brazil. What the world witnessed on January 6, 2021 in Washington DC, US, when Republican supporters stormed the US Capitol, is now happening in Brazil. Former President Jair Bolsonaro's right-wing supporters invaded Brazil's congressional building and Presidential offices, also known as the Three Squares building, in the capital city of Brasilia on Sunday (January 8).
Since the building was empty on Sunday, the protesters, who were in thousands, ascended to the ramp of the congressional building while a smaller group invaded from a lower level.
This, wasn't unexpected as the previous few months have been marred with heavy protests by Bolsonaro's supporters who had been camping outside military bases and also called the armed forces to take over the country and halt Lula's inauguration.
HAPPENING NOW: Pro-Bolsonaro protestors have stormed Congress and are holding a banner that reads:— Anthony Cabassa (@AnthonyCabassa_) January 8, 2023
“We Want The Source Code”. It’s being reported the protestors want the source code for the machines used in Brazil’s recent election. pic.twitter.com/BejrUWmpTd
What happened? Bolsonaro's supporters had already been protesting against Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva's elevation as President. Since Lula's in swearing-in ceremony on January 1, the protests had further intensified. On October, 30 2022, Lula had narrowly edged former President Bolsonaro and ousted him from the office.
The role of Bolsonaro in the unrest: One of the main reasons for the chaos in Brazil is actually Bolsonaro's divisive rhetoric and his claim that the election mandate through which Lula won was a stolen one. This acted as a catalyst for his right-wing supporters, who have been protesting outside army camp bases and asking it to take over the country, even through a coup.
Lula and Bolsonaro respond after the chaos: President Lula, who was on a visit to Sau Paolo city in Brazil, said that the storming inside the government buildings was without precedent and labelled those behind it as "fanatic terrorists".
World leaders react: The chaotic scenes at Brazil's Presidential buildings sent the world leaders in shock and many have condemned it.
US President Joe Biden called it an "assault on democracy". He said: "I condemn the asault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Brazil's democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the attack, saying that the democratic institutions must be respected by all. "Deeply concerned about the news of rioting and vandalism against the State institutions in Brasilia. Democratic institutions must be respected by everyone. We extend our full support to the Brazilian authorities," he tweeted.
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. @LulaOficial— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2023
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres emphasized that will of the Brazilian people and democratic institutions must be respected.
"I condemn the assault on Brazil's democratic institutions that took place today. The will of the Brazilian people and democratic institutions must be respected. I have full confidence that it will. Brazil is a great democratic country."
I condemn today’s assault on Brazil’s democratic institutions.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 8, 2023
The will of the Brazilian people and the country’s institutions must be respected.
I am confident that it will be so. Brazil is a great democratic country.
Brazil, a divided country: Brazil has become a highly divided country in the recent past and attack on democratic instiutions by protesters show that the country is highly divided on left vs right lines.