Brazilian police arrest protesters inside government buildings

On Sunday, supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the National Congress building in Brasília, Brazil. (Eraldo Peres/AP)

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro broke through security barriers set up by the armed forces on Sunday and gained access to the country’s Congress building, Supreme Court and Planalto presidential palace, footage shows in the Brazilian media.

Footage showed massive crowds in the capital of Brasilia ascending a ramp leading to the Congress building, where they had reached the Green Room, located outside the lower house of the House of Congress, the Senate President said by acting, Veneziano Vital do Rogo, at CNN Brasil.

Other media showed Bolsonaro supporters entering the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, where CNN Brasil showed the arrival of riot police and Brazilian armed forces.

The violations come about a week after the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose return to power after a 12-year hiatus comes after beating Bolsonaro in a runoff election on October 30.

Supporters of Bolsonaro – who left Brazil before the inauguration and are currently in the United States – have been camping in the capital ever since. Justice Minister Flavio Dino had authorized the armed forces to set up the barriers and guard the Congress building on Saturday due to the continued presence of Bolsonaro supporters.

Neither house of Congress is currently in session. And although President Lula is not currently in the building, a team assembled for the newly elected president was working inside the palace as the protesters entered, CNN Brasil reported. Planalto Palace officials are waiting for the Air Force to evacuate them from the building, according to CNN Brasil.

Dino, who said he was at Justice Department headquarters, condemned the actions of Bolsonaro supporters in a statement on Twitter, saying, “This senseless attempt to impose the will by force will not prevail.”

Federal District Security Secretary Anderson Torres – and former justice minister under Bolsonaro’s government – also called the scenes “regrettable”, adding that he had ordered “immediate measures to restore order in the center of Brasilia”.

Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Workers’ Party, called these violations a “predicted crime against democracy” and “against the will of the ballot box”.


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