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Brazil: Around 1,200 Bolsonaro supporters have been arrested in riots in Brasilia.

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NAround 1,200 supporters of the former right-wing head of state have so far been arrested after extremists stormed a government district in Brasília by former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Security forces cleared a camp of Bolsonaro supporters in front of the armed forces headquarters in the Brazilian capital on Monday and temporarily detained activists, the G1 news portal reported. As seen on television, around 40 buses were taken to the central police headquarters. The Supreme Court had earlier ordered that the camp be vacated within 24 hours.

Supporters of Brazil’s former president besieged Congress in the capital, Brasilia. They broke the front windows and entered the entrance hall as seen on Globo TV on Sunday.

According to media reports, security forces regained control of the three branches of government later in the day. Television showed dozens of demonstrators being led away in handcuffs.

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Earlier, hundreds of demonstrators had entered the Parliament premises and climbed onto the roof of the building. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades but were unable to stop supporters of former right-wing leader Bolsonaro.

“I condemn these anti-democratic acts that must be urgently punished with the strictest punishment of the law,” wrote Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco. Twitter. “I spoke on the phone with the Federal District Governor, Ibanez Rocha, with whom I am in constant contact. The governor informed me that the entire police force is focused on bringing the situation under control.

The governor of the federal district surrounding the capital was temporarily relieved of his office on Monday. The Supreme Court ordered the suspension of Ibanez Rocha for 90 days.

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Photographs were uploaded on online networks that brought back memories of the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Videos circulating on online networks show Bolsonaro supporters defying police restrictions and entering the Congress building. They smashed the doors and windows and then poured heavily into the building.

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You can see devastated MP offices and protesters climbing onto seats in the Senate. Footage also shows protesters besieging the nearby Planaldo Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court. Many of the invaders were dressed in yellow and waved the Brazilian flag.

Said to be supporters of former President Bolsonaro

Said to be supporters of former President Bolsonaro

Quelle: AFP/EVARISTO SA

Hundreds protested in front of the building

Hundreds protested in front of the building

Quelle: AFP/EVARISTO SA

The damage to the three buildings, considered icons of modern architecture and containing numerous works of art, appeared to be considerable.

A video shows a crowd outside Congress pulling a police officer from his horse and beating him.

The area near the Square of the Three Armies, close to Congress, the presidential palace Planaldo and the Supreme Court, was cordoned off by authorities. However, Bolsonaro’s supporters managed to overcome the obstacles. The security forces were completely overwhelmed and tried in vain to push the people back by firing tear gas shells.

Several Bolsonaro supporters ran up the ramp to the Congress building to occupy the building’s roof, an AFP photographer observed. There they unfurled a banner that read Calling the Brazilian Army – Intervention. Scores of Bolsonaro supporters gathered in the surrounding lawns and squares and in front of the Planaldo presidential palace.

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President Lula did not come to the capital on Sunday, but visited the city of Arracura in the southeastern state of São Paulo. It was destroyed by a flood in late 2022. Lula condemned the attack in the capital Brasilia. “All vandals will be found and punished,” the head of state said on Sunday. “We will also find out who funded it.” By decree, Lula ordered the central government to assume responsibility for public security in Brasilia.

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Bolsonaro condemned the attack by his radical supporters in a government district in the capital Brasilia. “Peaceful protests are part of democracy. However, looting and raids on public buildings, like what happened today, are not included,” the right-wing former head of state wrote on Twitter on Sunday (local time). “Throughout my tenure, I have always upheld the Constitution, respecting and protecting the rule of law, democracy, transparency and our sacred freedoms. I’m coming.”

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After the attacks on government buildings, the security chief of the capital Brasilia, Andersen Torres, has been fired. “I have decided to sack the Federal District Security Minister while sending all security forces on the streets to arrest and punish the culprits,” Rocha wrote on Twitter. “I am in Brasilia to observe the demonstrations and take all measures to control the anti-democratic riots in the government district.”

The leader of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) had earlier made serious accusations against those responsible in the capital Brasilia. “The federal district government was irresponsible in the face of the invasion of Brasilia and the National Congress,” Gleisi Hoffmann wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “This is a declared crime against democracy, against the will of the electorate and against other interests. The governor and his defense secretary, a Bolsonaro supporter, are responsible for everything that happens.

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The incident took place a week after the inauguration of new leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula, who has long been an idol of the Latin American left, won the Oct. 30 presidential runoff by a razor-thin margin over Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has not publicly acknowledged his electoral defeat. Even after the election, die-hard supporters of the former military repeatedly protested against Lula’s victory and called on the country’s armed forces to stage a military coup.

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Unusually, Bolsonaro flew to the United States with his family on New Year’s Day, instead of attending the inauguration of his successor, Lula.

American technology company Meta said on Sunday it was removing comments on social media that supported the attack. “We consider this a violent event and will remove content that supports or glorifies this act,” a Meta spokesperson confirmed to dpa.

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