“Supporters of populist former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace Sunday, a week after Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, commonly known as Lula, was sworn in as Brazil’s new president.
Thousands of people loyal to the right-wing Bolsonaro broke through police barricades and entered the Congress and Supreme Court buildings. Bolsonaro’s supporters — called Bolsonaristas — also surrounded the presidential palace, calling for Lula’s resignation, though the president was on an official state trip to Araquara and not in the capital, Brasília. Congress was also on recess, leaving the building mostly empty.
Lula made an official statement at 4 pm ET, saying he would sign an emergency decree, in effect till January 31, allowing the federal government to implement “any measures necessary” to calm the unrest in the capital.
“They took advantage of the silence on Sunday, when we are still setting up the government, to do what they did,” Lula’s account tweeted Sunday. “And you know that there are several speeches by the former president encouraging this. And this is also his responsibility and the parties that supported him.”
Videos of Bolsonaristas draped in yellow flags and sitting at the desks of lawmakers appeared on Twitter Sunday afternoon in a scene reminiscent of the January 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol building by right-wing supporters of former US President Donald Trump. Throughout the afternoon, protesters destroyed windows in the Supreme Court building, flew the Brazilian imperial flag above the Congress building, set fire to a carpet in the lower house of Congress, looted gifts from foreign dignitaries, and reportedly attacked a photojournalist from the news outlet Metropoles.
Police forces at the capitol initially used tear gas against the protesters; however, that failed to deter protesters and drove the guards to seek cover behind the building. The Brazilian Armed Forces and anti-riot police, as well as the entire police force of the state of Brasília, have been called up in an attempt to quell the protests”
“the Bolsonaristas are animated by the belief that Brazil’s 2022 elections were rigged, and that Bolsonaro is the true winner of the election. Bolsonaro has been in the United States since Lula’s January 1, 2023, inauguration and has not yet publicly commented on the situation.
Lula won a runoff election against Bolsonaro last October, marking a return to power after a stint in prison on corruption charges. Lula, a left-wing former president who helped raise the standard of living for millions of Brazilians by strengthening the country’s social programs, first served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010. He was in prison from 2018 to 2021.”
“Brazilian president Jaír Bolsonaro finally spoke to the country on Tuesday — almost 48 hours after losing the presidential runoff election to political rival and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva”
“the close results of the election — the tightest since Brazil’s transition to a democracy in 1984-1985 — make it clear that two Brazils likely do exist. Bolsonaro may have lost, but Bolsonarismo and the right-wing movement he created have become a more deeply rooted political phenomenon, said Pagliarini.
The election results, if anything, show the strength of the right wing in Brazil — which still had electoral success in 2022, and may see this election as a future to build on, one that transcends Bolsonaro himself. “If and when Bolsonaro leaves the stage, his presence will be felt for years to come, not just in elected office,” Pagliarini said.”
“Brazil’s coronavirus situation is dire, but it’s not surprising given that Bolsonaro downplayed the pandemic from the beginning.
He called it the “little flu.” He shrugged at the country’s mounting death toll by saying “we’ll all die one day.” He undermined governors’ attempts to enforce social distancing and other measures, insisting economies reopen. He used a homophobic slur to refer to those who wore masks. He has continued to tout the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and other unproven drugs as coronavirus cures.
When it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations, Bolsonaro has sowed misinformation and doubt. In December, he said of possible side effects on the Pfizer vaccine, “If you turn into a crocodile, it’s your problem.” He strongly criticized Chinese-made vaccines, including bashing his own government’s deal to acquire the CoronaVac vaccine. “The Brazilian people WON’T BE ANYONE’S GUINEA PIG,” he wrote on social media last year. Ultimately, Bolsonaro had to backtrack early this year and thank China for fast-tracking the vaccine, as Brazil faced a deadly wave of the pandemic, with few vaccines available.”
“The thing standing in the way is the Centrão (Big Center), a bloc of centrist voting parties in Brazil’s Congress. Bolsonaro has basically had to build alliances with these members of Congress, who agree to work with Bolsonaro in exchange for the president basically giving them what they want.
“Bolsonaro has actually gotten pretty good at handing out goodies — like pork-barrel projects — for the members of Congress to bring home the bacon and show their voters that they’re doing their job,” said David Samuels, distinguished McKnight University professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. “And so they’re also happy to see Bolsonaro twist in the wind as long as he keeps the spigots of money going.”
Experts said it’s going to take a lot for them to basically turn their back on those goodies — whether they’re cushy jobs or beneficial projects. An investigation by the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo found that Bolsonaro’s government set aside about 20 billion reais ($3.9 billion) for what are basically pork projects.
“The question for impeachment becomes this: Does popular will and senatorial and deputy outrage turn to the point where enough are willing to abandon that sort of legislative sway over the national political agenda for the sake of impeachment?” Snider of the University of Texas said.
Right now, the answer looks like a big “no.””
“In a head-spinning political maneuver, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro joined demonstrations held in Brasilia on Sunday to protest coronavirus-related lockdowns and to call for a military coup.
Political observers say the protesters were right-wing Bolsonaro supporters who called for military intervention on behalf of the president because they view the country’s supreme court and legislature as obstacles to his campaign against pandemic lockdown measures, despite the fact that the country has more than 35,000 confirmed cases and over 2,300 deaths as of April 19.
“Now it is the people in power. It’s more than your right — it’s your obligation to fight for your country,” Bolsonaro said, standing on a pickup truck outside the Army headquarters. “We don’t want to negotiate anything. We want action for Brazil.”
Political commentators say it’s unlikely that Bolsonaro literally hoped to foment a coup with his incendiary remarks outside the Army headquarters, but rather saw the protest as an opportunity to mobilize his political base. The president has become increasingly isolated politically due to his resistance to approaching the pandemic in accordance with medical and scientific advice, and clashes with politicians issuing quarantine orders at the state level.”
“Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the virus, calling it a “little flu” and arguing that Brazilians are well-suited for it because they can be dunked in sewage and “don’t catch a thing.” The president has also frequently defied social distancing guidelines from his own administration, and has opposed lockdowns initiated by governors of states, accusing them of exploiting the pandemic for political gain.”