Brazil leaders condemn ‘terrorist acts’ …vows to defend democracy

The leaders of Brazil’s three branch­es of government have issued a rare joint statement condemning the storming of government buildings by supporters of former far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro.

In a statement on Monday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva joined the heads of the Supreme Court and the two houses of Con­gress to reject the acts of political violence that shook the capital, Brasilia, a day earlier.

The leaders called for calm “in defence of peace and democracy” and said they “reject the terrorist acts and criminal, coup-mongering vandalism that occurred” in the statement shared on social media.

Thousands of Bolsonaro supporters who refused to accept the ex-army captain’s electoral defeat stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace on Sunday, with some calling for military intervention to restore Bolsonaro to power or remove Lula from office. The incident came just days after Lula was sworn in as president on January 1, following one of the most divisive presidential elections in Brazil’s history. The left-wing leader nar­rowly defeated Bolsonaro in an October 30 runoff election, securing 50.8 per cent of the total votes.

Bolsonaro, who never formally conced­ed defeat but authorised the presidential transition, had falsely claimed for months ahead of the election that Brazil’s electron­ic voting system was vulnerable to fraud – fuelling concerns he planned to contest the results. Many of his supporters con­tinued to believe the vote was stolen, and some erected roadblocks in the days after Bolsonaro’s loss. Others had also camped outside the military headquarters in Brasil­ia, demanding the army intervened.

On Monday, hundreds of soldiers and police mobilised to dismantle the impro­vised camp, where approximately 3,000 Bolsonaro supporters had set up tents. Around 1,500 people were arrested at the protest site, officials said.

Large contingents of riot police, meanwhile, deployed to lock down the capital’s Three Powers Square, home to the iconic modernist buildings that serve as the headquarters of the three branches of government. -AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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