In a dramatic protest against the recent inauguration of President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, supporters of Brazil’s far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro broke over police barricades and invaded the national Congress building on Sunday.
Over the course of an exceptional day of political violence, rioters caused considerable damage to the buildings that house Brazil’s three branches of government, in a failed attempt to remove the new president’s administration, which has been in power for one week.
Observers of the attack immediately drew parallels between the mayhem in Brasilia and the takeover of the US Capitol on January 6, 2017, by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Brazil’s security forces have seized control of the country’s political institutions, and as of Sunday evening, more than 400 people have been arrested, according to Brasilia’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha. Later, Rocha, a Bolsonaro loyalist, was removed from his position for security violations.
Lula secured a spectacular return to the presidency of Brazil late last year, garnering 50.9% of the runoff vote to defeat Bolsonaro, the far-right incumbent.
However, many of Bolsonaro’s followers refused to accept the outcome, and political observers have long feared an attack on the country’s significant administrative facilities in the way of the United States.
Bolsonaro exited Brazil at the end of the year and flew to Florida, the same US state where former President Donald Trump resides.