Biden condemns Jan. 6-style attacks in Brazil, says democracy has ‘our full support’

President Joe Biden condemned supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday as thousands stormed the country’s top government offices in an attack similar to the attack on the US capital on January 6, 2021.

– Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support, and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined, Biden said on Twitter as the attack unfolded. “I look forward to continuing to work with [President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva].”

At least 400 people were arrested, officials in Brazil said, after authorities cleared the country’s presidential offices, Congress and Supreme Court of rebels. The New York Times reported that at least eight journalists were attacked or robbed during the riot, and several government buildings were damaged. A carpet in the lower house of the country’s congress was set on fire, and pictures posted on social media showed people wandering through smoke-filled offices with furniture upturned.

The attack drew eerie parallels to the events of January 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the halls of Congress, some ransacking offices and attacking Capitol police.

Lula condemned the attack just a week after he was sworn in, calling it “abhorrent” and vowing to punish the far-right rebels with the full “force of the law”.

Later Sunday, Bolsonaro too, paralyzed the destructive nature of the protest, saying that while his supporters should be able to demonstrate peacefully, “destruction and invasions of public buildings, like what happened today,” were not in the same spirit. The former Brazilian president has been in Florida for the past week, and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) asked to be deported from the United States after the events on Sunday.

Bolsonaro, often called Brazil’s version of Donald Trump, was defeated in a close runoff election in October that was decided by less than two percentage points. Bolsonaro challenged the results of that election, demanding that the results be annulled and that he be declared the winner.

These attempts were unsuccessful, and Lula took office on January 1 to begin his term in office.

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