Hundreds of people have been detained by Brazilian police as they retake Congress, the presidential mansion, and the Supreme Court from rampaging Bolsonaro supporters.
In a tweet on Sunday, the police announced that at least 300 individuals had been detained in Brasilia, the nation’s capital, following the rampage by thousands of Bolsonaro supporters who are refusing to accept their candidate’s election loss. This is a sombre echo of the assault of the US Capitol two years prior by ardent followers of former President Donald Trump.
“Investigations will continue until the last member is identified,” the police vowed.
No initial reports of fatalities or injuries were made following the attack on Sunday, but the attackers left a path of devastation, tossing furniture through the presidential palace’s broken windows, flooding portions of Congress with sprinklers, and looting the Supreme Court’s ceremonial rooms.
The country’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential office building were attacked and trashed by thousands of Jair Bolsonaro’s extremist followers before security forces recovered control, which prompted Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to rebuke them.
Lula, who had been touring the state of Sao Paulo, came back to the city’s centre on Sunday night to survey the damage. He strolled through broken windows and torn artwork in the presidential palace. He called the rioting “abominable,” and vowed to find and punish those responsible. At least 400 persons were detained by the police.
The protest, which lasted little over three hours, highlighted the extreme polarisation that still exists in the nation days after the victory of Bolsonaro’s opponent, the leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and days after his inauguration as president.
Lula read a recently signed decree ordering the federal government to take responsibility for security in Brasilia during a news conference from Sao Paulo state, where he accused Bolsonaro of promoting the riots by what he called “fascist zealots.”