March 23, 2023

COPYCAT COUP: Right-wing insurrectionists invade Brazil’s capital to restore Bolsonaro to power

COPYCAT COUP: Right-wing insurrectionists invade Brazil's capital to restore Bolsonaro to power

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Just two days after the two-year anniversary of Trump supporters storming the United States Capitol, supporters of ousted Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have forced their way into Brazil’s National Congress building, the presidential palace, and the Supreme Court in a copycat insurrection.

“The National Congress building in Sao Paulo, #Brazil has been completely overwhelmed by Jair #Bolsonaro supporters and is been currently occupied by them,” journalist Sotiri Dimpinoudis tweeted, initially giving a mistaken location for the violent rebellion which is taking place in the nation’s capital of Brasilia.

In a scene reminiscent of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, a Brazilian mob of right-wing extremist Bolsonaro supporters confronted and engaged with police officers before forcing its way into the government building.

Equipped with tear gas, police were soon overtaken by the crowd which made its way into the National Congress chamber and were caught on camera standing on desks, sliding down barriers, and crowding around the desks of legislators.

The Bolsonaro supporters vandalized the National Congress building, with footage showing of one of the supporters injured and being taken out on a make-shift stretcher.

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The fast-moving rebellion soon spread from the National Congress building to the Brazilian presidential palace, where fortunately Lula was not currently in residence, having gone to São Paulo for meetings.

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Having already invaded the spaces belonging to the executive and legislative branches of the Brazilian government, Bolosnaro’s insurrectionists next targeted the judicial branch with their revolutionary fervor.

And it seems like the rioters had the support of at least some of the police meant to be protecting the government institutions.

In October, Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court verified the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The left-wing President-elect narrowly defeated the far-right Jair Bolsonaro in a tight race that had supporters of the wannabe authoritarian ex-President crying foul.

Familiar – and baseless – claims of a “stolen election” left the democratic world with a bad case of deja-vu.

The right-wing former President was referred to as “the Trump of South America,” and Bolsonaro was widely embraced by Trump and his allies when taking office in 2018.

Bolsonaro’s administration frequently mimicked the policies and rhetoric of the U.S. President – including nationalist views and spreading misinformation about the coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccine.

Despite calls for Bolsonaro to concede his loss to the freely and fairly elected Lula, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon urged the ousted President to challenge the results.

On October 30th, Eduardo Bolsonaro – a Brazilian congressman and son of the former president – traveled to Mar-a-Lago to meet with ex-President Trump.

The younger Bolosnaro reportedly talked with Bannon – who was in Arizona stumping for Kari Lake – and had lunch with former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller, The Washington Post reported.

One report also indicated that the official responsible for the security of Brazil’s capital city recently visited Orlando where Bolsonaro has been waiting in self-imposed exile.

The Brazilian insurrectionists parroted language that could have been taken from any one of the January 6th insurgents in the United States.

“We need to re-establish order after this fraudulent election. I’m here for history, for my daughters,” Lima, a 27-year-old production engineer, told the AFP news agency, according to the BBC.

The pro-Bolsonaro faction even had its own version of the Q-Anon shaman, albeit in the Brazilian national colors of green and yellow, rather than in red, white, and blue.

Bolsonaro supporters are calling for the resignation of President-elect da Silva – and urging military intervention, the BBC also reported

What is unfolding in Brazil is a sad testament to the international impact that American politics in the Trump era has had.

Once a beacon for democracy, America faced an  increase in nationalist rhetoric, far-right conservative policies, and authoritarian actions by those in power during the Trump administration — all of which has helped shift international political trends away from democracy and closer to authoritarianism.

President Lula Da Silva has announced that he is signing an emergency decree that will allow the Brazilian federal government to take “any measures necessary” to end the violent siege.

The U.S. government has weighed in with a strong condemnation of the violence in Brazil.

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President Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, tweeted out  support for the legitimate Brazilian government under Lula.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details in the hours and days ahead.

H/T Sotiri Dimpinoudis and David Adler.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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