9 January 2023

“An attack on democracy that cannot be tolerated”: Storming of Brazil’s congress condemned by global leaders

President Lula leader was forced to declare emergency powers before calling on the national guard into the capital to restore order.

Global leaders around the world have provided support for Brazil’s new President Lula following protests in Brazil on Sunday evening that saw members of the far-right storm congress and the presidential palace.

Joe Biden described the situation as “outrageous” after supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro invaded the country’s congress, presidential palace and supreme court, with a number of senior US lawmakers calling for the far-right figure to be extradited from the US.

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak condemned “any attempt to undermine the peaceful transfer of power and the democratic will of the people of Brazil.” Writing on Twitter, Sunak says Brazil’s President Lula has the UK’s “full support,” adding that he looks forward to “building on our countries’ close ties in the years ahead.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “respecting the democratic will of the people is paramount in any democracy”, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the destruction as an “attack on democracy that cannot be tolerated.”

Bolsonaro flew out of Brazil on the evening of Lula’s inauguration and is currently residing in Florida. Of course, many across the world saw parallels to the US capitol invasion on January 6th 2021.

A member of the US foreign affairs committee, Joaquin Castro, told CNN that Bolsonaro had used “the Trump playbook to inspire domestic terrorists to try and take over the government.”

“Right now, Bolsonaro is in Florida. He should be extradited to Brazil and The United States should not be a refuge for this authoritarian who has inspired domestic terrorism in Brazil”, he said.

Human Right Watch said the attacks were a result of a “years-long campaign by former president Jair Bolsonaro and his allies to undermine democratic principles and spread baseless claims of electoral fraud.” Thousands of protesters clad in yellow Brazil football shirts overran police and ransacked the heart of the Brazilian state and came just a week after Lula’s inauguration.

The left-wing leader was forced to declare emergency powers before calling on the national guard into the capital to restore order. He also ordered the closure of the centre of the capital for 24 hours.

A number of protestors smashed windows, while others reached the Senate chamber, where they jumped onto seats and used benches as slides. Videos on social media also showed protestors pulling a police officer from his horse and attacking him outside the building.

National media broadcasts showed police detaining dozens of protestors in yellow jerseys outside the presidential palace. 

Luca branded the protestors “fascists, fanatics” and said they would be punished “with the full force of the law.”

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit Unsplash

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