Thousands of people supported Brazil’s former right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday storm the Parliament, the supreme court and the presidential palace during the first crisis of the new presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. They demanded Lula’s resignation and called on the army to stage a coup.
Who are the protesters?
Bolsonaro’s populist movement has long relied on radical, highly mobilized supporters who show up in large numbers for rallies and events. They were the mainstay of his presidency from 2019 to last year and also protest in large numbers after losing to Lula in the October election.
In the days following the vote, many pro-Bolsonaro truckers blocked highways across the country, quickly causing supply chain problems and at one point forcing the closure of the international airport. main of Brazil. Advocates of this hard line are nationalists, socially conservative, and often Protestant. They accuse Lula and his Workers’ party is corrupt and against family values, arguing that the left intends to implant socialism in Brazil.
What do they believe?
For more than a year before the election, Bolsonaro cast doubt on the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting machines without providing credible evidence for his claims. The electoral authorities have repeatedly demonstrated the integrity of the system and the election is considered fair and transparent by international observers.
Although Bolsonaro was careful not to publicly question the election results in the days following the vote, his supporters claimed – without evidence – that the ballot was rigged. They also accused top judges of showing political bias in Lula’s favor and of treating the suppression of misinformation on social media as censorship. Since the election, hundreds of people have camped outside military bases around the country, demanding the armed forces intervene to stop Lula’s presidency.
Alexandra Morais, a woman in her 60s, said: “The armed forces have to step in and get Bolsonaro back to run the country and continue his great work in a protest outside the army barracks. team in the city of Belo Horizonte last year. “70 to 80% of Brazilians want this, but the election is rigged.”
Despite a tense construction ahead Lula’s Inauguration Ceremonyincluding the discovery of an alleged bomb in Brasília, few turned out to protest at last week’s swearing-in ceremony.
What did Bolsonaro say?
For two days after his election defeat, Bolsonaro kept quiet. Then, in a very brief statement, he tacitly supported the radical protesters blocking highways and rallying outside military bases. “The people’s movements today are the result of anger and a sense of injustice about the way the electoral process is going,” Bolsonaro said at the time.
In the final months of his presidency, he allowed protesters to continue occupying areas outside the military base, even as they called for military intervention to stop Lula’s inauguration.
While Bolsonaro himself did not publicly oppose the election results, his political party launched a legal challenge to overturn the results, but it was quickly dismissed by the court. The former conservative army captain has condemned a bombing plot in Brasília that was discovered by police a week before Lula’s inauguration.
However, in a sign of intense bitterness between Lula and Bolsonaro, the far-right populist broke with tradition by refusing to attend the swearing-in ceremony to hand over the presidential shawl. Instead, he traveled to Florida, where last week he was spotted eating fast food. Bolsonaro has yet to comment on Sunday’s incidents, but he is likely to face criticism from opponents for contributing to an atmosphere of polarization and antagonism towards his institutions. Brazil, including the Supreme Court.
Following Sunday’s events, many also criticized the governor of Brasília, Ibaneis Rocha, and his security secretary, Anderson Torres. Both are considered close to the former president and are said to be friendly with his supporters. On Sunday night, Reuters reported that Brazil’s general counsel had requested Torres’ arrest.
What happens now?
Lula came to power vowing to unify the country after a divisive election. The attacks are likely to spur him to take a tougher stance towards far-right far-rightism. Clearly shaken, the president on Sunday called the protesters “vandals and fascists” who “must be punished”. Flavio Dino, Brazil’s new justice minister, was ready to crack down even before the attacks on Congress. He has the ability to promote prosecutions and a program to stamp out extremism.