Amid Brazil Riot, Bannon Cheers 'Freedom Fighters'

Hundreds arrested after supporters of losing President Bolsonaro storm the capital
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2023 6:32 AM CST
For Brazil, the Riots Came on Jan. 8
A supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro before a police phalanx in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.   (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Authorities in Brazil have reclaimed control of the nation's seat of power after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro rioted in the capital Brasilia on Sunday. Estimates of the number of arrested range between 200 and 400 in news coverage:

  • The scene: Thousands stormed the nation's Congress, its Supreme Court building, and presidential offices in "scenes reminiscent of the Jan. 6 storming of the United States Capitol," per the New York Times. As in the US, the rioters claimed election fraud, in this case after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated Bolsonaro, per the BBC.
  • Bolsonaro reacts: The former president never conceded and has asserted without evidence that the election was rigged. He left the country for Florida before da Silva's Jan. 1 inauguration. On Sunday, he condemned the violence on Twitter, writing that peaceful demonstrations are OK but "depredations and invasions of public buildings" are not, per NPR.

  • President lays blame: Lula said Bolsonaro "triggered" the violence in an address to the nation. "This is also his responsibility." He also vowed on Twitter that "whoever did this will be found and punished," adding: "Democracy guarantees the right to free expression, but it also requires people to respect institutions. There is no precedent in the history of the country for what they did today. For that they must be punished."
  • Strategy: After Bolsonaro lost the election, aides including his lawmaker son Eduardo Bolsonaro met multiple times with former President Trump, and former Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Jason Miller, per the AP. Bannon cheered on the "Brazilian Freedom Fighters" in a social media post Sunday, per the Independent.
  • Videos: Sees videos of the rioters storming governmental buildings via the New York Times.
(More Brazil stories.)

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