BRASILIA, Brazil – Jan. 08, 2023: Damage caused at the Supreme Court by supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
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Brazil’s currency weakened on Monday after supporters of right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings on Sunday in protest against his election loss.
Brazil’s real slipped 1.5% to trade around 5.3 per dollar, extending earlier losses, while the country’s Sao Paulo Bovespa benchmark stock index fell 0.3% in early trade.
Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace in Brasilia on Sunday. The demonstrators refused to accept his legitimate October election defeat to leftist rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The riots came a week after Lula’s inauguration as president and saw Bolsonaro’s followers bypass security barricades and vandalize all three buildings, resulting in more than 400 arrests after hours of clashes with security forces.
BRASILIA, Brazil – Jan. 08, 2023: Damaged furniture are seen piled in front of the Palacio do Planalto (the official workplace of the president of Brazil) following a protest by supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Mateus Bonomi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
“The coup plotters who promoted the destruction of public property in Brasilia are being identified and will be punished,” Lula said in a tweet Sunday night, vowing to resume work in the palace on Monday.
The new president was forced to declare emergency powers and to close off the center of the capital for 24 hours until order is restored.
In a press conference, Lula said the government was hunting the riot’s financiers. He accused security forces of “incompetence, bad faith or malice” in allowing the rioters, some of whom were calling for a military intervention to oust Lula or restore Bolsonaro to power, to access government buildings.
He also accused the former president of encouraging “fascist fanatics,” an allegation Bolsonaro denied in a series of tweets on Sunday.
“Peaceful demonstrations, in accordance with the law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings like those that happened today, as well as those that were practised by the Left in 2013 and 2017, evade the rule,” Bolsonaro said, according to a translation.
The events have been likened to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of defeated former president Donald Trump.
In a tweet Sunday night, U.S. President Joe Biden condemned what he called “the assault on democracy and the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil.”
Biden added, “Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined.”
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday also condemned “any attempt to undermine the peaceful transfer of power and the democratic will of the people of Brazil.”
Sunak said Lula’s government has the U.K.’s “full support” and that he looked forward to building on the two countries’ ties in the years ahead.
The Brazilian president received words of support from Moscow, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Russia condemned the instigators “in the strongest terms,” according to Reuters.