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Photos and video of chaos in Brazil show an eerily familiar sight for Americans as supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, a Trump ally, storm the country’s Congress 2 years after the US Capitol riot

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Protesters, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, clash with police during a protest outside the Planalto Palace building in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.Protesters, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, clash with police during a protest outside the Planalto Palace building in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

  • Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro stormed Brazil’s Congress Sunday with complaints of a stolen election.
  • The demonstrators broke through police barriers, smashed windows, and invaded government buildings.
  • The actions were similar to those of January 6 by supporters of Trump, who has praised Bolsonaro.

Chaotic scenes erupted in Brazil on Sunday as supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress and other government buildings nearly two years to the day that similar events unfolded at the US Capitol.

Bolsonaro, like former President Donald Trump, has refused to acknowledge the results of Brazil’s election in October, in which the far-right, populist leader lost to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a leftist candidate who previously served as president of the country.

About a week after Lula’s inauguration, thousands of demonstrators who claim the election was stolen descended on Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace, smashing through security barricades, breaking windows, and entering the buildings, all located in Brazilia, the country’s capital.

—Nathália Urban (@UrbanNathalia) January 8, 2023

—The Brazilian Report (@BrazilianReport) January 8, 2023

“There is no precedent for what they did and these people need to be punished,” Lula said Sunday.

But for Americans watching the unrest unfold, a sense of deja vu was almost inevitable.

This past Friday marked two years since a mob of Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol building, assaulting police officers, smashing and climbing through windows, and forcing lawmakers to evacuate while they were in the process of certifying Joe Biden’s election win.

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.Protesters, supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Many Democratic lawmakers noted the parallel between January 6, 2021, and what was happening in Brazil.

“The violent attack on the heart of the Brazilian government by right-wing extremists is a sad but familiar sight,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a tweet.

—ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) January 8, 2023

—POPULAR FRONT (@PopularFront_) January 8, 2023

 

Like Bolsonaro, Trump refused to concede. He spread false claims of widespread voter and election fraud and urged his supporters not to accept the result, instructing them to go to the Capitol and fight. Since the attack, nearly 1,000 people have been charged, including for assault, disorderly conduct, and obstructing law enforcement, among others.

On Sunday, Lula said those who invaded Brazil’s government buildings, which were believed to be mostly emptied, would also be punished. He also ordered the government buildings to be closed for 24 hours while police worked to secure the area. About 200 people were arrested, officials in Brazil said.

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, sit in front of police after inside Planalto Palace after storming it, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.Protesters, supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, sit in front of police after inside Planalto Palace after storming it, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Though the similarities between Sunday’s events and January 6 were striking, they may not have been entirely surprising. Bolsonaro fashioned himself as a Brazilian counterpart to Trump, running for president in 2018 on a familiar slogan: “Make Brazil great again.”

Trump has frequently praised Bolsonaro and touted their relationship, even as the Brazilian president was facing criminal charges and accused by international watchdog groups of threatening his country’s democracy and violating free speech principles. For months leading up to his election, he suggested he would not accept a loss. After he lost, he never publicly acknowledged Lula’s win.

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.Protesters, supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, storm the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Allies of Bolsonaro even met with some of Trump’s advisers, including Steve Bannon and Jason Miller, seeking advice on how to handle the loss, The Washington Post reported at the time.

And two days before January 1, the day Lula was to be inaugurated with his predecessor present as is custom, Bolsonaro left the country and has been in Florida since. Trump too broke custom and skipped his successor’s inauguration, flying to Mar-a-Lago as Biden was sworn in.

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, clash with police as they storm the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Planalto is the official workplace of the president of Brazil.Protesters, supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, clash with police as they storm the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Planalto is the official workplace of the president of Brazil.

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Some Democratic lawmakers have argued that Bolsonaro should not be allowed to remain in the US and should be extradited back to Brazil, where he is facing several investigations.

Bolsonaro chimed in on Sunday night to condemn Sunday’s demonstrations, writing in a tweet that peaceful protests were part of Democracy but that “destruction and invasions of public buildings, like what occurred today,” were not, according to The New York Times translation.

He also said accusations that he bore responsibility for the riots, including from Lula, were “without proof.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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