Trump Playbook in Brazil: Bolsonaro Supporters Storm Key Govt Buildings

Security forces used tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannon to fight back rioters until they were subdued.

3 min read

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Pawan Kumar

The supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil, stormed the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in Brasília on Sunday, 8 January, demanding that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was sworn in last week, be ousted.

What happened? Refusing to accept Bolsonaro's electoral defeat, thousands of rioters, dressed in yellow and green, bypassed security barricades, climbed on roofs, smashed windows, and stormed all three buildings, which were believed to be largely vacant, according to news agency AP.

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil. 

(Photo: PTI)

The rioters allegedly thrashed the room where Supreme Court justices convene, sprayed fire hoses inside the Congress building, and vandalised offices at the presidential palace.

And then? Security forces used tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannon to fight back rioters until they were finally subdued. At least 300 people have been arrested.

What did President Lula say? Terming it an attack by "fascist fanatics," President Lula da Silva visited the ransacked buildings, according to TV network Globo. He said that Bolsonaro encouraged the rioters and said: "There is no precedent for what they did and these people need to be punished."

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva walks in Planalto Palace after it was stormed by supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro.

(Photo: PTI)

The 77-year-old president also signed a decree for the federal government to take control of security in Brasília.

Bolsonaro reacts... Far-right leader Bolsonaro, meanwhile, condemned the "pillaging and invasions" in the capital and denied any role in the rioting.

Crackdown After Protests

  • Security started a crackdown after the vandalism at the government buildings.

  • Over 300 rioters have been arrested.

  • Supreme Court of Brazil removed the governor of Brasilia's federal district, Ibaneis Rocha, for 90 days after he failed to control the riots.

  • Meta said it has declared the storming of Brazil's Congress a "violating event" and that will start removing and blocking content defending the attack, BBC reported.


World leaders react: Condemning the "assault on democracy" in Brazil, United States President Joe Biden said, "Brazil's democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply concerned about the news of rioting and vandalism. "Democratic traditions must be respected by everyone. We extend our full support to the Brazilian authorities," Modi said.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted: "The violent attempts to undermine democracy in Brazil are unjustifiable. President @LulaOficial and the government of Brazil have the full support of the UK."

Why you must read on: The riots in Brazil were eerily similar to the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. According to AP, political analysts had warned for months that a similar attack was a possibility in Brazil, given that Bolsonaro has been questioning the credibility of the country's voting system, without evidence.

(With inputs from AP, BBC.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and world

Topics:  Brazil   Riots   Lula 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
More News