La Semana

Invade Brazil presidenti­al palace, Congress, Supreme Court

- By Adriano Machado

BRASILIA, Jan (Reuters) - Supporters of Brazil's far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday invaded the country's Congress, presidenti­al palace and Supreme Court, in a grim echo of the U.S. Capitol invasion two years ago by fans of former President Donald Trump.

Leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro in the most fraught election in a generation last year, announced a federal security interventi­on in Brasilia lasting until Jan. 31 after capital security forces initially were overwhelme­d by the invaders.

In a press conference, he blamed Bolsonaro and complained about a lack of security in the capital, saying authoritie­s had allowed "fascists" and "fanatics" to wreak havoc.

"These vandals, who we could call fanatical Nazis, fanatical Stalinists ... fanatical fascists, did what has never been done in the history of this country," said Lula, who was on an official trip to Sao Paulo state. "All these people who did this will be found and they will be punished."

The sight of thousands of yellowand-green clad protesters running riot in the capital capped months of tension following the Oct. 30 vote. Bolsonaro, an acolyte of Trump's who has yet to concede defeat, peddled the false claim that Brazil's electronic voting system was prone to fraud, spawning a violent movement of election deniers.

There was no immediate word from Bolsonaro, who has barely spoken in public since losing the election. He flew to Florida 48 hours before the end of his mandate and was absent from Lula's inaugurati­on.

"This genocidist ... is encouragin­g this via social media from Miami," Lula said, referring to Bolsonaro. "Everybody knows there are various speeches of the ex-president encouragin­g this."

The violence in Brasilia could amplify the legal risks Bolsonaro faces. It also presents a headache for U.S authoritie­s as they debate how to handle his stay in Florida.

The Bolsonaro family lawyer, Frederick Wassef, did not respond to a request for comment.

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