January 10, 2023


Supporters of Brazil's far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro invaded and defaced the country's Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court on Sunday… There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from their rampage, but the invaders left a trail of destruction, throwing furniture through the smashed windows of the presidential palace, flooding parts of Congress with a sprinkler system and ransacking ceremonial rooms in the Supreme Court.” Reuters

Authorities arrested 1,200 people on Monday - in addition to 300 detained a day earlier… Mr Bolsonaro condemned the attack and denied responsibility for encouraging the rioters in a post on Twitter.” BBC

Here’s our prior coverage of Brazil’s election. The Flip Side

Both sides condemn the violence and anticipate that Brazil’s far-right movement will remain influential:

“Many have commented about how the images of the green-and-yellow-clad Bolsonaro supporters smashing windows and running through the hallways and chambers of government buildings resembled [the] January 6 Capitol Hill riot in Washington. They’re more alike than the would-be insurrectionists might realize. You can’t overthrow a government just by getting a crowd together and briefly overwhelming the cops on duty at government buildings. A mob like that can do damage, but it can’t build anything, and it can’t make any serious claim to legitimacy or constitutional authority…

“It’s not like the Brazilian police, prosecutors, judges, the military, and Lula were all going to shrug and say, ‘Oh, well, I guess Bolsonaro gets to be president again.’ Populist movements have an easy time whipping people up into an angry frenzy, but not such an easy time turning all that energy into something constructive and lasting.”

Jim Geraghty, National Review

“On the day the mob swarmed, the political process had run its course. Lula was sworn into office on January 1, the transition over and his government in place… This assault may have been less about elections past and more about the future of the right-wing movement in Brazil. Congress was in recess at the time, leaving the building mostly empty. Lula was away from the presidential palace. But the images of Bolsonaro supporters, clad in yellow and green, scaling walls, breaking windows, and swarming the seats of power, nonetheless showed a government under siege…

“‘They created all the images they wanted, they knew they would be arrested — they wanted to create martyrs,’ said [Professor] Rosana Pinheiro-Machado… [The arrests are] being framed as an injustice by the powerful to tamp down the people… The challenge of the far-right movement in Brazil will likely persist and continue to create chaos during Lula’s term and beyond.”

Jen Kirby, Vox

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