Brazil’s National Congress, other sites raided by pro-Bolsonaro protesters opposing Lula victory

A chaotic scene unfolded in Brazil’s capital Sunday as hundreds of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace calling for a military intervention to overthrow President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Portuguese news agency LUSA reports the protesters attempted to storm Brasilia’s Planalto Palace, the official workplace of the Brazilian president. President Silva was reportedly not on site.

Supporters of Brazilian former President Jair Bolsonaro clash with the police during a demonstration outside the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 8, 2023.
(EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images)

Footage making the rounds on social media shows throngs of protesters – many wearing the green and yellow colors of the national flag – ransacking the building, with shattered glass and what appears to be teargas visible throughout.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States “condemns any effort to undermine democracy in Brazil.”

“President Biden is following the situation closely and our support for Brazil’s democratic institutions is unwavering,” he tweeted. “Brazil’s democracy will not be shaken by violence.”

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The incidents, which recalled the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol, come just a week after leftist President Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva was sworn in on Jan. 1.

Bolsonaro supporters have been protesting against Lula’s electoral win since Oct. 30, blocking roads, setting vehicles on fire, and gathering outside military buildings, and asking the armed forces to intervene.

The former president, who flew to the U.S. ahead of Lula’s inauguration, has not commented on Sunday’s events. The social media channels of his three lawmaker sons also were silent.

At about 5:30 p.m. local time, less than three hours after the storming, security forces seemed to be regaining control of the presidential palace and Supreme Court’s surroundings, while thousands of protesters remained around Congress and on its roof.

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Federal District Gov. Ibaneis Rocha confirmed on Twitter that he had fired the capital city’s head of public security, Anderson Torres.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.