Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is a Socialist and convicted felon. As such, he has opponents across the country. Many don’t believe he is the future for Brazil or the answer to their problems. Instead, they want him gone, and many believe a show of no faith would be a great way to help get him out.
As thousands of irate Brazilians descended on the capital of Brasilia, the group set their sights on the Congress and Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) on January 8th. It was perfect timing, too, as Lula was in the Sao Paulo state to see firsthand the damage of recent floods. With little he could do, the mob took over the offices to show the government what they thought of Lula and his leadership.
Storming through the buildings, the mob chanted slogans and proceeded to destroy the facade on two of the three buildings, as well as damaging priceless artifacts inside the chambers beyond the point of possible repair. While Lula couldn’t do anything directly, when news of this reached him, he called for a “federal intervention.”
Like our “state of emergency”, this consolidates the power of multiple organizations under the control of a single senior official. It ultimately makes it that much easier for Lula to get his power back without further incident. Additionally, Lula called out the police for failing to protect the buildings and artifacts.
With his consolidation of control, the corruption that caused this uprising only gets worse. While he only was elected to office over incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro back in October, it took two elections to get him into office because the voting was so tight. His supporters were part of the crowd going in there, but the majority of the crowd was simply anti-Lula.
Considering Lula was previously president but had been convicted multiple times of corruption during his previous two terms, many consider him to be an illegitimate president. The 2022 runoff was overseen by the armed forces of Brazil, and only featured Lula and Bolsonaro. Yet, they still could not guarantee that the election was without fraud or irregularity.
Many of the protesters also were accusing the STF of interfering in the election. Head justice, Alexandre de Moraes censored mentions of Lula’s previous corruption convictions as well as putting a gag on Bolsonaro supporters through fines and police raids.
Returning to office on January 1st, Lula set out to destroy the previous policies of Bolsonaro right from the start. He took sharp aim at their version of the second amendment, and following the uprising on the 8th, it’s no surprise. It’s much harder to rule an armed population, and by disarming them he is following the lead of many dictators before him. Something the American people with even a nickel’s worth of common sense is afraid of with Biden in office.
Brazilian networks covered the events, and close to 100 buses from across the country descended on the capital. Ripping down the glass facades, the police attempted to disperse them with tear gas, and it had little to no effect on the people. They were there with a very specific goal.
Despite Lula’s justice minister, Flavio Dino calling them “incubators of terrorism” they want something very specific: Lula gone.
According to the protestors, they want the Brazilian military to intervene on their behalf. It’s not a coup d’etat that they seek. Rather they want a “military intervention” that they claim the Brazilian constitution provides for the people when an illegitimate election occurs.
This whole protest is ripe with similarities to the Jan 6th protest at the Capital building in Washington DC. In both instances, the people took the building in response to an illegitimate election. They demanded things be done right. Each protest is aimed against a corrupt leader who has been proven to be corrupt time and again. All parties protesting want what is right for their people and the country.
Yet on Jan 6th, the patriots who stormed the capital didn’t destroy it. They had the doors opened for them by security guards. They stayed within the ropes and didn’t destroy priceless works of art or artifacts. Yet somehow, they were racist for their actions. Never mind both the outgoing and incoming presidents were both white.
Despite destroying nearly everything they could in Brazil, and demanding the military get involved, they are still seen as a legitimate protest. Interesting.