Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro invade the National Congress in Brasilia. Photo: Sergio Lima—AFP/ Getty.
On Sunday, January 8, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro laid siege to the National Congress building, the Presidential Palace, and the Supreme Court in Brasilia. Many observers compared this attack to the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol invasion by supporters of former President Donald Trump. According to eyewitnesses and videos of the incident shared on social media, hundreds of protestors climbed a ramp to the top of the congressional building in Brasilia, while a smaller number entered the structure from a lower level. The Supreme Court and the presidential offices—located on the same square—were broken into by other protest groups.
Later that same day, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes suspended Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha for 90 days due to alleged security failures that allowed access to official buildings. Moreover, Brazilian authorities have arrested 1500 rioters and security officers suspected of providing funds for the violent protests. Authorities have also requested that a federal court freeze Bolsonaros’ assets.
Leaders from around the world condemned the attacks and expressed their support for elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Jair Bolsonaro has condemned the violent protests from Miami, Florida, where he is currently located, and asserted that he would return to Brazil earlier than anticipated following hospitalization for abdominal pain related to his 2018 stabbing.