Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazilian Congress, presidential palace to protest Lula election

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Jan. 8 (UPI) — Hundreds of supporters of Brazil’s right-wing former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and Planalto Presidential Palace on Sunday to protest the election of Lula da Silva and calling for a military intervention to overthrow him.

The violent demonstrators clashed with the country’s Military Police and vandalized the buildings in Brazil’s capital of Brasília inspired by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric during his campaign, Folha de São Paulo reported.

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Police reportedly used non-lethal deterrents including “stun bombs” to dispel participants in the riot at the capital as protesters broke windows to enter the Federal Supreme Court building.

Protesters allegedly retaliated by setting off fireworks and throwing objects at police, Brazilian news outlets reported.

Bolsonaro has often been compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump and was endorsed by his American counterpart in the election. Like Trump, he claimed ahead of the election that the only way he would lose would be as a result of voter fraud.

Lula blasted the riot and said that Bolsonaro gave “several speeches” encouraging the actions of his supporters, who he branded as “fascists.”

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“This is also his responsibility and the parties that supported him,” Lula said in a statement.

Lula on Sunday also issued a presidential decree for federal intervention in the public security of the nation’s federal district.

The degree will be in effect until Jan. 31 and will give the responsibility of public security in the federal district to Ricardo Garcia Cappellli, the executive secretary of Brazil’s Justice Ministry.

“You must have followed the barbarism in Brasilia today. Those people we call fascists, the most abominable thing in politics, invaded the palace and Congress. We think there was a lack of security,” Lula said in a statement.

“Whoever did this will be found and punished. Democracy guarantees the right to free expression, but it also requires people to respect institutions. There is no precedent in the history of the country what they did today. For that they must be punished.”

A minister with the Federal Supreme Court told Globo TV that those who participated in the invasion will be identified and “punished rigorously.”

Lula traveled to São Paulo this weekend and was not in Brasilia as the violence erupted. Bolsonaro left Brazil ahead of Lula’s inauguration and has been in Florida.

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Brazilian officials have reportedly called in the country’s National Guard to dispel the protesters, who have been camped out in Brasilia since the inauguration.

Unlike the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, neither house of the Brazilian Congress was in session during the riot.