Riot Breaks Out in Brazil – Protesters Storm Government Buildings

Riot Breaks Out in Brazil - Protesters Storm Government Buildings

( – Tensions have remained high in Brazil since October’s election when voters ousted former President Jair Bolsonaro in favor of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. For more than 10 weeks, Bolsonaro’s supporters demanded the overturn of election results. They camped outside the Army headquarters. The government took little, if any, action to deter them from doing so. When the military failed to meet the protestors’ demands, the disgruntled citizens took things even further.

On Sunday, January 8, hundreds of Brazilian citizens, dressed in mostly green and yellow — the colors of the nation’s flag — took to the nation’s Capitol building, presidential offices, and Supreme Court and created chaos. They broke windows, destroyed furniture and equipment, and ruined artwork — and that was just the beginning.

Bolsonaro fled to the United States during the tensions, just ahead of the new leader’s inauguration. Present-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or “Lula,” had remained in the country to assess flood damage when the violence broke out. He accused Bolsonaro of supporting and encouraging the violence, according to NBC News. Bolsonaro adamantly denied the charges on Twitter.

On Sunday and Monday, police regained control, taking protestors into custody. They detained approximately 1,500 people and bused them away to undergo questioning.

The fact that the rioters took up residence in such monumental buildings with so little resistance caused many people to ask why the police and armed forces didn’t respond. How did they gain such quick access to pivotal government structures? Speculation ensued that law enforcement didn’t take the threat seriously enough or even possibly conspired with protesters.

Lula said the police would receive adequate punishments where appropriate. Ibaneis Rocha, the federal district governor, fired Brasília’s public security head before also receiving a suspension.

The capital city’s government buildings will need serious renovations before they become habitable again, but Lula seems up to defending the nation’s democracy and all it entails.

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