Terrorists in green and yellow vandalize Brazilian democracy

Global South News

By Iara Vidal (Brazil)

Right-wing extremists invaded and destroyed the headquarters of the Three Powers of the Republic, in Brasília, this Sunday (8); social movements react and call for acts for democracy and against amnesty for criminals

Brasilia, Brazil – Sunday, January 8, 2023, the day on which Square of the Three Powers, in Brasília, capital of Brazil, was invaded and vandalized by terrorists dressed in green and yellow, the national colors. A week ago, this same space hosted a party of democracy and popular joy during the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who climbed the ramp of the Planalto Palace for the third time.

In a state of denial about the result of the elections for president of Brazil in October, coup supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro – who fled to Florida, in the USA – invaded the center of the federal capital. The acts of destruction took place two years and two days after the invasion of the Capitol, seat of the US Legislature, in Washington, on January 6, 2021, by right-wing extremists supporting Donald Trump.

In Brazil, right-wing extremists invaded the National Congress, seat of the Legislature; the Planalto Palace, seat of the Presidency of the Republic; and the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the Brazilian Supreme Court. All three buildings were vandalized.

Several areas of both the Planalto Palace and the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court were vandalized.
Several areas of both the Planalto Palace and the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court were vandalized.
Several areas of both the Planalto Palace and the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court were vandalized.
Several areas of both the Planalto Palace and the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court were vandalized.

President Lula reacts with rigor

President Lula

President Lula reacted with rigor and decreed federal intervention in the area of security in the Government of the Federal District (GDF) until January 31 due to the inaction of the Military Police and other security forces, which at least were lax in curbing anti-democratic acts. Lula was in Araraquara, a city in the state of São Paulo, hit by heavy rains, when he learned of the terrorist attack in Brasília.

The president of Brazil held a press conference and, after reading the decree, classified the terrorists as “vandals” and highlighted that all those involved in extremist acts will be found and punished.

“They will realize that democracy guarantees the right to freedom, to free expression, but it also requires people to respect the institutions created to defend democracy.”
President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

The decree emphasizes that the intervention is necessary to put public order in the DF, “marked by acts of violence and invasion of public buildings”.

Still on Sunday night, the President of the Republic was already in the capital and inspected the destruction of the sites. Lula personally went to the Planalto Palace to inspect the damage committed by the coup vandals. Afterwards, he walked through Praça dos Três Poderes to the Federal Supreme Court (STF), where he spoke with the President of the STF, Rosa Weber, and with Minister Luís Roberto Barroso.

Popular reaction

The Homeless Workers Movement (MTST, of the acronym in Portuguese) and other social movements will hold numerous demonstrations, this Monday (9), in defense of democracy and for the punishment of the coup leaders involved in the terrorist invasion of the headquarters of the Three Powers.

The acts will have the participation of different social movements gathered in the Povo Sem Medo and Brasil Popular fronts, which agreed together, this Sunday night, to carry out the demonstration. There will be acts in other capitals and cities throughout Brazil.

Convened congress

Based on Lula’s decree, the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, summoned Congress extraordinarily this Sunday night to analyze the intervention in the DF as quickly as possible.

Federal intervenor

Until January 31, the Federal District intervenor in the area of public security will be the executive secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, Ricardo Cappelli. He is a trusted man of the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, and will report to President Lula during the intervention period. It will be up to him to try to dismantle coup movements in the Federal District.

Minister of Justice calls acts of terrorism

Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, held a press conference on Sunday night. He stated that the ministry is working to restore order in the Federal District and that terrorist acts will be dealt with rigidly. “They will not be able to destroy Brazilian democracy,” said Dino. “This is not continuity of the electoral process, this is terrorism, it is a coup”, he added.

Dino informed that more than 40 buses were seized and the passengers and financiers identified. After the restoration of public order, the ministry’s top priority will be to investigate the actions of financiers and supporters and determine preventive detention for co-authorship in extremist acts.

DF government failed to contain the acts

The Minister of Justice avoided attributing the blame for the security breach to the governor of the Federal District, the unit of the Federation where Brasília is located and which is responsible for the security of Square of the Three Powers, Ibaneis Rocha.

Dino said he believed that Governor Ibaneis Rocha “received wrong information” and made administrative decisions based on it. “I want to believe that the governor will investigate the responsibilities of those who did not fulfill their constitutional duty”, he highlighted.

The minister stated that security planning in the Federal District foresaw that the Esplanada dos Ministérios would be closed to pedestrians, but that a change was made at the last minute and he was not informed of the change that allowed free access for pedestrians to the headquarters of the three branches of government.

Dino pointed out that he questioned the Secretary of the Civil House of the DF, Gustavo Rocha, and the governor of the sudden change and that he received in response the statement that “everything would be calm”.

In a video released on social media, Governor Ibaneis Rocha apologized to President Lula for what happened in Brasília. According to Ibaneis, despite the monitoring of coup movements, the security forces were surprised. Rocha also addressed the president of the STF, minister Rosa Weber, and the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, and of the Federal Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco.

In the early hours of Sunday to Monday (9), STF minister Alexandre de Moraes, who presides over the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), removed the governor of the DF, Ibaneis Rocha, from his duties for 90 days.

PMDF supported terrorists

Early this Sunday afternoon, coup demonstrators arrived at the Army Headquarters in buses from several states in Brazil. The extremists moved towards the Esplanade of Ministries around 2:40 pm and the Military Police of the Federal District (PMDF) interrupted the traffic of two lanes of the Monumental Axis to protect Bolsonaristas.

On social media, supporters had already organized themselves since the beginning of the week and promised acts for this Saturday, Sunday and Monday (9). Security in the central area of Brasília was reinforced, but it was not enough to hold back the extremists.

Request for arrest of the DF Security Secretary

Faced with evidence that the Military Police of the Federal District have been conniving or at least acted without due force to prevent the invasions, the governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha, decided to exonerate the Secretary of Security, Anderson Torres.

Previously, Torres was Jair Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and had already been little active in the episodes that took place on the day of Lula’s diplomation at the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), on December 12, 2022.

Torres is out of the country in the US and met with the defeated former president in Florida this week.

The Advocacy General of the Union (AGU) asked the STF to determine the arrest of Anderson Torres. Among the requests sent, the AGU determined the vacancy of occupations of public buildings across the country and the demobilization of all anti-democratic acts in front of barracks.

Demonetize scammer channels

The Attorney General of the Union, Jorge Messias, also asked for the demonetization of profiles that encourage the carrying out of anti-democratic acts, that cell phone operators keep cell phone connection records for 90 days to identify participants in the acts and the seizure of all the vehicles involved in transporting the terrorists and that the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) keep a record of all these vehicles that entered the DF between January 5th and 8th of this month.

According to the AGU, the acts “import manifest damage to the treasury and public property and also cause embarrassment and disturbance of public order and the free exercise of the Powers of the Republic, with the manifest passivity and indication of illegal collaboration of public agents”.

Crash hours

After hours of vandalism and depredation, Bolsonaro supporter terrorists began to retreat due to the advance and increase in the number of security forces. Around 8 pm, the three buildings invaded (Planalto Palace, National Congress and Supreme Court) were unoccupied. Protesters were dispersed using pepper spray, tear gas and stun gas.

Around 300 people were arrested in flagrante delicto until 11 pm on Sunday and arrests in flagrante delicto will continue until the next few hours.

Journalists attacked

At least 8 press professionals who participated in the coverage of the invasion of the buildings of the Three Powers were victims of violence this Sunday in Brasília. The Union of Professional Journalists of the Federal District and the National Federation of Journalists released a note earlier this evening and repudiated the attacks suffered by press professionals.

Tragedy announced

There is a part of the Brazilian people that has been inoculated by a fascist hypnosis that seems to have no end. Since October 30, 2022, the date on which Lula defeated Jair Bolsonaro for the Presidency of the Republic, Brazilian men and women coup plotters have stood in front of barracks across the country because they do not accept the results of the polls.

A profusion of absurd images of these people on social networks: with the cell phone on the head asking for extraterrestrial intervention, salute for tire, crying, rain, stomach ache, more rain, mud. A circus of horrors.

In Brasilia, the doors of the Army Headquarters, the equivalent of the US Pentagon, were taken over by a camp of those who call themselves “patriots”. They ask for the end of democracy, they want to remove the three powers of the Republic and a military coup and they do not accept Lula’s victory. They experience a cognitive dissonance of a parallel universe created on social networks.

Bolsonaro supporters who turned Brasilia into hell on December 12, 2022 departed from these camps. That night, terrorists protested at the headquarters of the Federal Police, burned and vandalized popular vehicles that were parked nearby and set fire to public buses.

On Christmas Eve 2022, on December 24, there was an attempt to explode a fuel truck near Brasília airport. One of the perpetrators of the failed attack was arrested and stated in a statement to the Civil Police of the DF that he planned with demonstrators from the Army Headquarters to install explosives in at least two places in the federal capital to “start the chaos” that would lead to “decree of the state of siege in the country”, which could “cause the intervention of the Armed Forces”.

Vandalized art

Torn painting by Di Cavalcanti

“Mulatas”, a painting by Di Cavalcanti, one of the greatest Brazilian painters, was torn up by the coup leaders in more than one place.
“Mulatas”, a painting by Di Cavalcanti, one of the greatest Brazilian painters, was torn up by the coup leaders in more than one place.

Clock of Dom João VI

A clock that belonged to Dom João VI, the prince regent who brought the Portuguese royal family to Brazil in 1808, father of Dom Pedro I, who proclaimed Brazil’s independence and grandfather of Dom Pedro II, has been destroyed.

Stolen weapons

Images from a room of the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI) show empty suitcases that contain weapons and ammunition. The arsenal has not yet been located.
Images from a room of the Institutional Security Cabinet (GSI) show empty suitcases that contain weapons and ammunition. The arsenal has not yet been located.

Iara Vidal is a Brazilian journalist and works in Brasília (DF)

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