Brazil’s far-right extremists are calling for more acts of civil disobedience after the country’s democratic institutions were stormed on Sunday.

Messages promoting a “silent revolution” by refusing to pay taxes are among those broadcast on Telegram channels associated with Sunday’s riots.

This follows mounting evidence that plans for the violent uprising were openly coordinated on public channels, using thinly veiled metaphors describing plans for a ‘party’ in Brazil’s Congress on January 8. .

Sky News has analyzed some of these channels to reveal how groups are responding to the aftermath of the ‘January 6’ moment in Brazil.


An income tax boycott is one of the disruptive tactics promoted by extremist supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro on Telegram in the wake of Sunday’s attacks in Brasilia.

The leaflets call on “patriots” to participate in a nationwide campaign to “starve out” what they call the “illegitimate state.”

Many associated with Sunday’s riot believe the October election, which saw left-wing leader Lula da Silva win a narrow victory, was a fraud won through an unreliable electronic voting system. They therefore claim that his government is illegitimate.

These are allegations that were promoted by Mr. Bolsonaro himself, even after the insurgency. Just Wednesday, the former president shared a video echoing voter fraud plots on Facebook. The clip has since been removed from his page.

This flyer announcing a “national shutdown” next week has been shared on some of Brazil’s biggest far-right channels. In this document, truckers responsible for transporting goods and those working in the agricultural industry are invited to strike.


“Everyone home.”

“Empty streets. No violence.” it reads.

Michele Prado, an independent analyst who studies the Brazilian far right, says: “The goal is to produce chaos, general shortages, achieve infrastructure goals to cause civil war and break the democratic order” .

Other messages seen by Sky News urge people to take part in a national strike, in what they call a “silent protest”.

One called on people to withdraw all their money from Brazilian banks, avoid holidays inside Brazil and boycott the famous February carnival.

“Only if the country is in total chaos will the army intervene!” it says.

This comment reflects one of the key aims of these extremists.

Since the election result was announced in late October, they have been loudly calling for a military coup to overthrow Lula. Members of the Brazilian far right see this as the only way to secure the country’s future and have set up a large protest camp in front of the army headquarters until the police dismantle it following the riots.

They hope that by causing maximum disruption in Brazil, the military will have no choice but to intervene.

“On January 8, they expected the armed forces to join them and encourage a military intervention that would return Bolsonaro to power, cancel the elections, arrest President Lula and shut down the Supreme Court,” Ms. Prado said.

But clearly not everyone in these groups continued to trust the military after Sunday’s incident.

A widely shared video combines footage of the military arresting rioters on Sunday with clips of conditions inside the gymnasium where inmates are being held.


It is accompanied by an audio track in which a man in tears shouts: “Army, help us! You have betrayed the motherland!

“I warned everyone that if God was not at the center of the [military]it would happen,” the accompanying message read.

Others encouraged people to abandon the idea of ​​a military coup altogether and instead believe that God will intervene to stop Lula.


“There were 70 days to ask for military intervention: it didn’t work. Now spend the same amount to ask for divine intervention – it will work!” reads a leaflet.

“Christian nationalism is very present within the Brazilian far right,” Ms. Prado said.

“We have also seen the spread of QAnon stories leading them to believe that they are in a spiritual battle against a satanic plot and that God will intervene and save them,” she told Sky News.

As this radical coalition scrambles to organize its next move, pundits have highlighted how these public online channels were used to stage Sunday’s violent uprising in plain sight.

Some extremists have used passwords like “Festa de Selma” meaning “Selma’s party” to describe their plan for a violent uprising at the country’s Palace of Three Powers.

Selma is another code word for “Selva” which means “jungle” in Portuguese, but is used as a rallying cry by the far right.

An image posted on Telegram shared a satellite image of the Esplanada dos Ministérios in Brasilia with the caption “Location of the Selma party”.

In it, the Congress building is circled, with the added caption “Cake cut here!”


Analysis by Arcelino Neto of the University of Sao Paulo revealed that, on Twitter, the phrase “Festa da Selma” first appeared three days before Sunday’s attack. As of January 10, it was shared by more than 10,000 accounts.

Other posts, however, made little attempt to conceal the intent behind the January 8 protest.


“Attention. This is not a party, this is a war. Dress appropriately,” reads one flyer.

Another, which aired just hours before the siege began, used an image from a previous rally at the country’s Congress building to demonstrate what was planned.


“This is our last last chance! [The army] is on hold awaiting our action! Patriots, it has to be today!”, we read.

Experts are closely following the evolution of this movement following the incident of January 8.

“Most will continue to cling to the ‘prophecy’ of military intervention,” says Professor Leticia Cesarino, an anthropology professor at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina and an expert on digital populism in Brazil.

“They will continue to advocate for Lula’s removal, including through violence if necessary. But I guess they will continue to do so in that indirect way, like disrupting infrastructure,” she told Sky News .

“I would wait to see though if there will be an ebb before they start to get worse again, or if they maintain the momentum.”

The Data and forensics The team is a versatile unit dedicated to delivering transparent Sky News journalism. We collect, analyze and visualize data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite imagery, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling, we aim to better explain the world while showing how our journalism is done.

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