BRASILIA, Brazil – Protesters backing Brazil’s former president stormed into the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential office on Sunday.
The crowd bolted into the buildings two months after Jair Bolsonaro lost his re-election bid for the presidency, The New York Times reported.
The attack came a week after the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who won a runoff against Bolsonaro in a runoff election in October, according to The Washington Post.
Images on Globo TV showed angry protesters roaming the halls and standing near smashed glass cases in the Planalto Palace, which is the office of the president, according to the newspaper.
Thousands of other protesters wearing the national soccer shirt, which is now a symbol of Brazil’s far right, waved the Brazilian flag outside the building, the Post reported.
Protesters walked up a ramp to the roof of the congressional building in Brasília, while a smaller group entered the building from a lower level, the Times reported.
Protesters were seen destroying windows inside the Supreme Court, the newspaper reported.
All three buildings are connected in the Three Powers square in Brasilia, according to The Associated Press.
“This absurd attempt to impose their will by force will not prevail,” Justice Minister Flavio Dino wrote on Twitter account, according to the Post. “The government of the Federal District has ensured there will be reinforcements. And the forces at our disposal are at work.”
The president was in São Paulo, and Congress was not in session, according to the newspaper. Both Congress and the presidential offices were mostly empty on Sunday.
Bolsonaro, who was facing several investigations, flew to Florida in late December and planned to stay there for at least a month, the Times reported. He has been staying in the Orlando area at a rented house owned by a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter a few miles from Disney World.
“Today is a sad day for the Brazilian nation. We cannot agree with the plundering of the national Congress,” Valdemar Costa Neto, the head of Bolsanaro’s Liberal Party, said in a statement. “All orderly demonstrations are legitimate. Disorder has never been part of our nation’s principles. I want to tell you that we vehemently disapprove of this type of attitude and let the law be enforced, strengthening our democracy.”
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