Political unrest in Brazil mirrors Capital insurrection

Zara Javeri, Lifestyle Editor

An estimated 5,000 supporters of Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed the congressional building in Brasilia on Jan. 8, immediately drawing comparisons to the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

This insurgence was to protest the results of the presidential election in which Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won office. Bolsonaro lost the election on Oct. 30, 2022. The results were extremely close, with Lula da Silva earning 50.9% of the votes and Bolsonaro earning 49.1%. Narrow election results combined with Bolsonaro’s claims about the illegitimacy of the election prompted his supporters to take action.

Since the loss of Bolsonaro, his supporters have gathered around military barracks across the country. A week after the inauguration of Lula da Silva, they marched to the government building escorted by the police, who are now being condemned for failing to prevent the attack. As the protesters made their way into the building, they broke windows and used furniture barricades to block combatting security forces.

The inside of the National Congress was left in shambles. The sprinkler systems flooded the building as protesters tried to set fire to the carpet. Priceless pieces of artwork featured in the building were found punctured, slashed and broken.

“The value of what was destroyed is incalculable because of the history it represents,” Art curator Rogério Carvalho said in a statement to BBC.

Additionally, blood, urine and defecation was found throughout the halls once the building had been cleared. Over 1,500 people have been arrested.


The riot in Brazil bears immediate resemblance to the U.S. Capitol insurrection that took place on Jan. 6, 2021. Similar to Donald Trump, Bolsonaro repeatedly attempted to incite suspicion about the legitimacy of the election, causing the country to question its electoral affairs and institutions. Both of the former presidents share many beliefs when it comes to politics. Bolsonaro was given the nickname “Trump of the Tropics,” and was endorsed by Trump when he was campaigning. Following the events in both nations respectively, citizens were left in shock and feared the loss of their democracy.

Many of the world leaders have come to the support of Lula da Silva. French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “The will of the Brazilian people and the democratic institutions must be respected! President [@LulaOficial] can count on the unfailing support of France.” The Biden administration “condemns any effort to undermine democracy in Brazil.”

In the days to come, Brazilian authorities will continue to investigate the situation. Since the incident, 39 individuals have been indicted. Some Brazilian political figures like Governor Ibaneis Rocha have been suspended for failing to prevent the attack. He was accused by Justice Alexandre de Moraes for being “painfully silent” when the riot occurred. Restoring a sense of peace and security is the country’s top priority.

“We are going to find out who the financiers of these vandals who went to Brasilia are and they will all pay with the force of law,” Lula da Silva said at a press conference.