Speed Reads

Insurrection in Brazil

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro storm government

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the seat of the nation's government on Sunday, breaking into Brazil's halls of democracy a week after his successor's inauguration in a scene that echoed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S Capitol

Protests by Bolsonaro supporters had been rising ever since he lost his re-election to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula. Bolsonaro falsely claimed widespread voter fraud had booted him out of office, though no evidence of such fraud was uncovered. 

The protests reached a fever point when a massive crowd of angry pro-Bolsonarists descended on the government plaza of the capital Brasilia. From there, the crowd was able to bypass security checkpoints and break into the key buildings of all three branches of Brazil's government: the National Congress building, the Supreme Federal Court building, and the Planalto Presidential Palace. 

The Brazilian military and anti-riot police were quick to respond to the uprising, and CNN reported that the protesters were attempting to erect barricades within the buildings to stop them from entering.

Lula was in São Paulo at the time, The New York Times reported, and Congress was not in session, meaning the buildings that the protesters broke into were largely empty. 

Still, officials quickly called for an end to the violence. 

"This absurd attempt to impose their will by force will not prevail," Justice Minister Flavio Dino tweeted. "The government of the Federal District has ensured there will be reinforcements. And the forces at our disposal are at work."

Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for the United States prior to Lula's inauguration, tweeted that "depredations and invasions of public buildings" escaped the rule of public law. Bolsonaro did commit to a peaceful transfer of power, but has stopped short of conceding the election.

This is a breaking news story that has been updated with additional information.