UPDATE: This story has been revised since its original publication to include information on the condition of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who was admitted to a Florida hospital Monday.
(LifeSiteNews) – At least several hundred arrests have been made following a march on the Capitol of Brazil that saw thousands of apparent supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro break into and damage buildings that house the nation’s three governmental bodies.
The demonstration has earned condemnation from multiple heads of state, including Bolsonaro, who lost his re-election bid to far-left challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last fall by a razor thin margin. Protests had been taking place in multiple cities across the country for weeks on end over concerns the race was stolen.
Someone needs to check if Ray Epps has flown to Brazil. pic.twitter.com/Nw20R2fWkc
— Libertarian Party Mises Caucus (@LPMisesCaucus) January 8, 2023
Bolsonaro, who is now living in Florida after skipping out on Lula’s inauguration two weeks ago, rebuked the vandalism Sunday, tweeting, “Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of the law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule.”
“Throughout my mandate,” he continued, “I have always been within the four lines of the Constitution, respecting and defending the laws, democracy, transparency and our sacred freedom. In addition, I repudiate the accusations, without evidence, attributed to me by the current head of the executive of Brazil.”
Bolsonaro was responding to claims made by Lula, who blamed him for allegedly inciting the attacks. Lula has since vowed to hold the “fascist fanatics” who carried out the rioting accountable.
U.S. President Joe Biden tweeted support for Lula, who has pro-China and radical environmental views, Sunday evening.
“I condemn the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil,” he wrote. Liberal Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas, meanwhile, called for Bolsonaro to be extradited to Brazil to face potential charges for provoking a coup.
Many users on social media were quick to point out what they believe are similarities between the events that unfolded in Brazil this weekend and the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol in 2021. Some conservatives wondered if the protests were genuine or if they were organized by intelligence or left-wing groups to empower Lula to crack down on his conservative opponents.
.@TSEjusbr @alexandre can’t give code/machines to 🇧🇷people or an honest arbiter of “free fair credible” elections (what 🥒🥕🥦 in chief @JoeBiden called it moments after it concluded 10/30🤦♂️) such as military. They blocked mandated audit bc they know what they did- they stole it. https://t.co/hjuozBiR2y
— Matthew Tyrmand (@MatthewTyrmand) January 8, 2023
Whatever the protestors’ intent, the political fallout has been terrible for Brazil’s patriots. Ibaneis Rocha, the pro-Bolsonaro governor of the country’s federal district — where the governmental buildings are located — has just been suspended from office for 90 days by left-wing Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes. De Moraes claimed, without evidence, that the violence “could only have happened with the acquiescence, or even direct involvement, of public security and intelligence authorities.”
Breaking: A group of supporters of former president #Bolsonaro are occupying the National Congress building in Brasilia, #Brazil. They are playing around and sliding down in the Federal Senate room. pic.twitter.com/XrcurXqr8U
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 8, 2023
Lawmakers were not inside the Presidential Palace, Congressional building, or Supreme Court at the time the protesters entered them. Videos on social media appear to show altercations between law enforcement and civilians quickly escalated into physical violence that involved gunshots. Police seem to have been overwhelmed quite easily by the throngs of protesters that removed the metal barricades that were set up around the buildings.
WATCH: The moment barricades were breached at the National Congress in Brazil.
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 8, 2023
After the presidential election in November, there was rampant speculation online that the military would intervene to prevent Lula from being sworn in. Ultimately, that did not happen. Lula first served as president of Brazil from 2003 until 2010. He was found guilty of multiple money laundering charges in the late 2010s. He was only allowed to run for office against Bolsonaro in 2022 because left-wing judges vacated his crimes and commuted his prison sentence.
On Monday around noon, it was reported by a number of outlets that Bolsonaro was “rushed” to an Orlando hospital for what has been described as “severe abdominal pains.” Bolsonaro, 67, survived an assassination attempt in 2018 during his first bid for the presidency, during which time he was stabbed. He underwent multiple surgeries thereafter. It is unclear if what Bolsonaro is experiencing is directly related to the stabbing.