World leaders have reacted with shock and dismay to the storming of Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace by thousands of supporters of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro
The rioters refuse to acknowledge Bolsonaro’s defeat in recent elections. The former president has not made a public statement explicitly conceding that he lost.
In a tweet addressed to Bolsonaro’s successor, the left-wing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote 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.
In Europe, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that “the violent assaults on democratic institutions are an attack on democracy that cannot be tolerated” and that Berlin “stands with President Lula and Brazilians.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted out her condemnation of “the assault on democracy in Brazil,” while European Council President Charles Michel wrote that Lula was “democratically elected by millions of Brazilians through fair and free elections” and had the EU’s full support.
During the violence in Brasilia, Bolsonaro supporters ransacked the National Congress building after busting through barricades, climbing on the roof, and smashing windows.
They then directed their rage toward the nearby Supreme Court, and the Palácio do Planalto, the official workplace of the president. It took security forces several hours to regain control of the area.
Lula signed a federal intervention decree, allowing the government to assume responsibility for public security in Brasília “in response to the terrorist acts,” the Justice Ministry said.
Hundreds of people were reported to have been arrested.
On Sunday evening, Bolsonaro tweeted that “peaceful, lawful demonstrations are part of democracy.”
“However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule,” he wrote.
From Mexico to Chile, Latin American leaders condemned the attacks and stuck up for Lula, a 77-year-old leftist icon who served two previous terms before taking office again this month.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called them “reprehensible and anti-democratic,” saying Lula has “the support of the progressive forces of his country, Mexico, the Americas, and the world.”
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández tweeted: “My unconditional support and that of the Argentine people for Lula against this attempted coup.”
Chile’s President Gabriel Boric spoke of a “cowardly and vile attack on democracy.”
Outraged reactions also came from Bolivia, Cuba, and Uruguay.