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The Brazilian president vows prosecution in the aftermath of the uprising


In the wake of Sunday’s attack on Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential office by supporters of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva vowed to bring the rioters to justice and convict them while he toured the devastation.

“The terrorists who promote the destruction of public spaces in Brasília will be identified and punished. Tomorrow we will resume work at the Presidential Palace. Democracy forever. Good night,” said the chairman tweeted after arriving in the capital Brasília from São Paulo. He walked past shattered windows and torn artwork in the presidential palace and was taken by two judges to watch the destruction at the Supreme Court, local television station Globo reported.

The effects of the attack were swift. The country’s highest court overnight ordered the suspension of Brasília’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, for 90 days, accusing him and Brasília’s head of public security of complicity in the attack on the capital.

“Absolutely NOTHING justifies the omission and coexistence of the Secretary of Public Security and the Governor of the Federal District with criminals who had previously announced that they would take violent actions against the constitutional powers,” Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes wrote in his decision .

Aerial video shows supporters of Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro invading Brazil’s Congress, Presidential Palace and Supreme Court on January 8. (Video: Reuters)

Rocha had apologized to Lula in a video address earlier on Sunday.

“First of all, I would like to address President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to apologize for what happened in our city today,” he said before calling the riots unacceptable. “We didn’t think the protests would gain the momentum they have,” he said.

Roche tweeted earlier in the day more than 400 people had been arrested and authorities were working to identify others involved in what he described as “terrorist acts” in the capital.

According to local media, Lula’s government also convened governors from across Brazil — Latin America’s largest country by area and population — for a special meeting in the aftermath of the attack, as protests blocked highways in four states.

Leaders around the world expressed support for Lula and condemned the riots as an attack on democracy.

Referring to “terrible images” from Brazil, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “violent attacks on democratic institutions are an attack on democracy that cannot be tolerated”. President Alberto Fernandez of Argentina said he and the country had “unconditional support” for Lula “in light of this coup attempt he faces.”

President Biden said“Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined.”

The attack drew numerous comparisons to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump – Bolsonaro’s political role model. the government — there were no reports of deaths in the hours that followed. Brazil’s Congress and Supreme Court are in recess and no legislators or judges were present. Five people died during or immediately after the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Still, the similarities were remarkable: Like Trump, Bolsonaro complained that his loss was unfair. The two have also spent time in Florida since their presidency, where Bolsonaro spent the past week.

Teary Bolsonaro calls loss unfair, condemns violence, flies to Florida

And in both cases, social media played a role in inciting protesters to action.

“Prior to the election, we designated Brazil as a high-risk temporary location and removed content urging people to take up arms or to forcibly invade the Congress, Presidential Palace and other federal buildings,” said Meta in a statement. “We are also declaring this an infringing event, which means we will be removing content that supports or praises these actions.”

The revolt in Brasília came a week after Lula’s inauguration. He previously served as Brazil’s president for two terms in the 2000s, narrowly defeating Bolsonaro in a runoff election in October.

Following Sunday’s chaos, Lula accused his predecessor of fanning the situation by repeatedly questioning the integrity of the election process. Bolsonaro disputed Lula’s claims. The former president defended lawful public protests as “part of democracy,” but said “invasions of public buildings” were “outside the law.”

Anthony Faiola and Marina Lopes contributed to this report.

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