Invasion of places of power in Brasília | An assault that could haunt Bolsonaro

Despite having significant support in high places, supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed the country’s main democratic institutions on Sunday have “overplayed their hand” and are now facing a severe security and legal backlash likely to also affect their champion.

The politician, currently in Florida, finds himself in a position of “extreme vulnerability” and risks experiencing “serious difficulties” if the authorities find direct links between him and the protesters, said Monday James Green, a specialist in the Latin America attached to Brown University.

“Very significant efforts will be made to follow the money” and find those responsible for organizing the attack in Brasília targeting the presidential palace, the Congress and the Supreme Court, notes Mr. Green, joined in Rio de Janeiro.

A desired military coup

The main objective of the protesters, he said, was to create an unstable situation “giving the army a reason to intervene” and to seize power by ousting the country’s new president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. who was sworn in a few days ago. He edged out Jair Bolsonaro by less than two percentage points in October in a hotly contested election.

Jean Daudelin, a professor at Carleton University closely following the situation in Brazil, is also of the opinion that the demonstrators aimed Sunday to create “chaos” to promote a military coup.

The ploy was cut short, however, he said, because several important elected officials, including people close to the ex-president, quickly denounced the attack on institutional buildings, removing all legitimacy from such an action.

Several high-ranking soldiers of the armed forces had openly displayed their contempt for the new administration and supported de facto the installation, in front of buildings of the army, of camps of demonstrators demanding a “military intervention”.

The army and the police, hand in hand with the Bolsonarists?

Rafael Soares Gonçalves, a researcher attached to the department of social work at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, notes that Jair Bolsonaro had appointed military personnel to several important civilian positions during his time in power, placing his successor in a delicate position.


Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, during a meeting with the country’s governors on Monday at the Planalto Palace

“It’s a very tense chess game being played with the army,” notes the analyst, who is also alarmed to see that the demonstrators were able to count on Sunday on the help of members of the police force responsible for ensuring public order in Brasília.

Some police officers simply took “self-portraits” with the demonstrators and allowed them “carefree” access to the targeted places of power, deplores Mr. Gonçalves.

Jean Daudelin notes that important questions also arise regarding the attitude of the governor of the district of Brasília, Ibaneis Rocha, and of the head of public security, Anderson Torres, a former justice minister of Jair Bolsonaro.

The first was suspended for 90 days by order of a Supreme Court judge due to security “vulnerabilities” observed on Sunday. The second, who had left for Florida shortly before buses loaded with protesters converged on the capital, was dismissed outright.

Open investigations

Investigations have been opened to establish the responsibility of those involved in the attacks, described in several media as “terrorists”.

The federal police are asking for a mass of information on who financed the demonstration camps, the buses, the food.

Jean Daudelin, professor at Carleton University

Sunday’s attack, the expert warns, could come to haunt ex-President Bolsonaro even in the absence of direct links with the demonstrators, since he has multiplied throughout his mandate criticism against the democratic institutions of the country. , including the Supreme Court, fueling discontent among its supporters.

Jair Bolsonaro, who left Brazil a few days before the end of his mandate, is also legally threatened by other investigations and could try to stretch his stay in the United States despite the opposition of elected Democrats demanding his dismissal.

“The United States must stop offering Bolsonaro refuge in Florida,” said MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who asked Washington to “show solidarity” with Brasília.

Mr. Gonçalves notes that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will have to be firm with those responsible for the looting so as to discourage any attempt to repeat the offense.

Even if the vast majority of the Brazilian population is outraged by the events of Sunday, there remains a hard core of supporters of Jair Bolsonaro who could be tempted to see the assault as “a trophy”, he warns.

Biden invites Lula and offers him his “unwavering support”

Joe Biden invited his Brazilian counterpart Lula to come and see him in Washington in early February, according to a joint statement following a telephone interview on Monday, which specifies that the invitation has been accepted.

The American president expressed during this exchange with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva the “unfailing support of the United States for Brazilian democracy and the expression of the free will of the Brazilian people, as expressed in the recent election presidential election that President Lula won”.

The two leaders also promised to “work together closely on the challenges facing the United States and Mexico, including climate change, economic development, peace and security”.

France Media Agency

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