Monday, January 9, 2023

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro deface Congress in an offensive anti-Lula stance

Jair Bolsonaro backers deface Congress in ugly anti-Lula stand

 BRASÍLIA: As they barged into Congress on Sunday pleading for "military intervention," supporters of the defeated former president Jair Bolsonaro smashed windows and sowed destruction in the colors of Brazil's national flag.

A similar attack was starkly evoked by the sea of yellow-and-green-clad "bolsonaristas" ascending the ramps leading to the roof of the modernist Congress Building: almost exactly two years ago, supporters of then-president Donald Trump, a Bolsonaro ally, stormed the US Capitol building in Washington.

As a sign of hostility toward the leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had just been inaugurated a week earlier, some people managed to gain entry to the legislative offices of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies and vandalized the buildings in their wake.

Brazil's Congress was not staffed because it was a weekend, in contrast to the Capitol attack, which occurred on a Wednesday.

An angry crowd hurled insults and objects at the police outside the building as they braved the rain and tear gas clouds to do so.

While helicopters flew overhead and dropped tear gas canisters, some assaulted and robbed an AFP photographer.

Among the crowd, 49-year-old civil servant Isabella Silva told AFP, "We patriots were robbed at the polls by Lula."

"I want the military to take control and make Congress clean; do some general cleanup," she said, echoing her fellow protesters' demands.

The police eventually dispersed the crowd, but their demands remained in graffiti on the facade, including an appeal to the military for "Intervention now!"

Another one read: The phrase "destitution of the three powers" refers to the three branches of government—the executive, legislative, and judicial.

On the so-called Esplanade of Ministries in the capital, supporters of the far-right Bolsonaro, who left Brazil two days before the controversial end of his term, also stormed the nearby presidential palace and Supreme Court.

The protesters also left a trail of destruction outside Congress, vandalizing police patrol cars. One, at least, burned.

Police batons were taken by some of them.

Victor Rodrigues, who, along with hundreds of other "bolsonaristas" has remained camped outside the army headquarters in Brasilia since Bolsonaro's defeat to demand an intervention, stated, "We do not recognize this government because it is illegitimate."

Sarah Lima, a production engineer, and her 19-month-old twin daughters drove 300 kilometers (186 miles) to join the protesters. She said she wanted a recount to find out if Lula's victory "really was true or not."

She and her daughters, along with many other people in the crowd, wore the Selecao national football team's jersey, which Bolsonaro and those who support him used as a symbol of nationalist fervor.

Protests continued outside on the esplanade as the police retook control of the Congress building.

Rodrigues has no intention of quitting, despite the fact that he stated that his store was "practically" closed due to his ongoing commitment to Bolsonaro's return.

He told AFP, "We won't back down." We will leave this Congress, but we will return.

"Pillaging and invasions" on Sunday were condemned by Bolsonaro, who, like Trump, has not conceded defeat to Lula in the October elections.

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