Arrests after Bolsonaro supporters attack key offices in Brazil

Police arrest 300 people over ‘anti-democratic’ riots by Bolsonaro’s supporters as questions mount about security lapses in Brasilia.
Supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva outside Brazil’s National Congress in Brasilia
| Photo Credit: Aljazeera

Police in Brazil on Monday dismantled and arrested hundreds of people taking back control of the country’s Congress, presidential palace, Congress and the Supreme Court from rioting supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.  

Protestors had set up a camp in front of the Army headquarters in the capital, Brasilia. Between 1,200 and 1,500 people have so far been detained for identification according to the authorities, who are trying to determine those who participated in Sunday’s mass assault. 

Security forces were seen Monday clearing protest camps outside the army’s headquarters in Brasilis, where about 3,000 Bolsanaro supporters had set up tents.

The protestors refuse to accept that Bolsanaro lost October’s election and have been calling for military intervention and the resignation of the country’s new left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

The uprising that lasted for over three hours registered no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, 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. 

The president, Lula da Silva, accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the riots by those he termed “fascist fanatics”. In a news conference from Sao Paulo state, he read a freshly signed decree for the federal government to take control of security in Brasilia.

“There is no precedent for what they did, All these people who did this will be found and they will be punished, ” Lula said.

The invasions were also condemned by leaders around the World. US president Joe Biden called the events an “assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power,” adding that Brazil’s democratic institutions had Washington’s full support.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for respect for Brazil’s institutions and sent Lula “France’s unwavering support”. 

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro denied the accusations that he was behind Sunday’s attack. He is currently ill and is being admitted to a hospital in the US with abdominal pain according to his wife.

Bolsonaro left Brazil for the US about 10 days ago and refused to take part in the handover of power to the incoming Lula last week.

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