The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Lula condemns Brasília riots; court suspends capital’s governor

Arrests were made in Brasilia after thousands of backers of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro breached and vandalized Brazil’s government buildings. (Video: AP)

BRASILIA — Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the thousands of radical supporters of Brazil’s former far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, after they stormed and vandalized the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential office building before security forces regained control.

Lula, who had been visiting the state of São Paulo, returned to the capital Sunday evening to tour the destruction, walking past shattered windows and ripped artwork in the presidential palace. He condemned the riots as “abominable” and said those involved would be found and punished. Authorities arrested at least 400 people.

The attacks in Brasilia drew stark comparisons to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and came a week after Lula was inaugurated. The leftist defeated Bolsonaro in a runoff election in October, one of Brazil’s closest-ever elections. Sunday’s episode amounted to one of the worst attacks against democracy in Brazil since the 1964 military coup.

Here’s what to know

  • Since Bolsonaro’s loss in October, thousands of his supporters have camped out at army barracks across the country, calling for an overthrow of the government amid allegations of vote suppression by the former president and his allies. Researchers detected a surge in aggressive rhetoric from election denialists in far-right channels online ahead of the rioting.
  • Sunday’s riots were not the first in the capital by Bolsonaristas, as supporters of the former president are known. In one violent episode, they attacked police and burned buses in Brasilia.
  • Days before leaving office, Bolsonaro defended his tumultuous four-year presidency and claimed the election had not been impartial, but condemned violence related to the results. He then flew to Florida and skipped the traditional handover of the presidential sash to his successor.
  • Lula, 77, who is now leading his third term as president and is considered a lion of Latin America’s left, condemned the attacks on Sunday and called the rioters “fascists.” He signed an emergency decree allowing the federal government to intervene in Brasilia and implement “any measures necessary” to restore order.
Press Enter to skip to end of carousel

Here's what to know:

Since Bolsonaro’s loss in October, thousands of his supporters have camped out at army barracks across the country, calling for an overthrow of the government amid allegations of vote suppression by the former president and his allies. Researchers detected a surge in aggressive rhetoric from election denialists in far-right channels online ahead of the rioting.
Sunday’s riots were not the first in the capital by Bolsonaristas, as supporters of the former president are known. In one violent episode, they attacked police and burned buses in Brasilia.
Days before leaving office, Bolsonaro defended his tumultuous four-year presidency and claimed the election had not been impartial, but condemned violence related to the results. He then flew to Florida and skipped the traditional handover of the presidential sash to his successor.
Lula, 77, who is now leading his third term as president and is considered a lion of Latin America’s left, condemned the attacks on Sunday and called the rioters “fascists.” He signed an emergency decree allowing the federal government to intervene in Brasilia and implement “any measures necessary” to restore order.

1/4

End of carousel
Loading...