Tsipras calls on international community to condemn attempted overthrow of Brazilian president

international community A man waves Brazil's flag as supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside Brazil’s National Congress in Brasília, Brazil on Sunday. (Adriano Machado/Reuters)

The president of SYRIZA expressed his solidarity with the president of Brazil and called on the international community to condemn the actions of Bolsonaro's supporters in the country's capital.

As Alexis Tsipras said in his Twitter post, "Full solidarity to President Lula and support for democracy which is threatened once again by the organized forces of the extreme right."

"The int'l community must immediately condemn the attempt to overthrow the elected President and undermine democratic institutions in Brazil," the tweet added.

It is recalled that the president of SYRIZA attended the swearing-in ceremony of the President in Brazil as an official guest of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Hundreds of hardcore supporters of Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, have stormed the country’s congress, presidential palace and supreme court in a stunning security breach that was immediately compared to the 6 January invasion of the US Capitol by followers of Donald Trump in 2021.

“What we are witnessing is a terrorist attack,” the news anchor Erick Bang announced on the GloboNews television network as word of the upheaval spread. “The three buildings have been invaded by coup-mongering terrorists.”

Shocking video footage showed the pro-Bolsonaro militants sprinting up the ramp into the Palácio do Planalto, the presidential offices, roaming the building’s corridors and vandalising the nearby supreme court, whose windows had been smashed.

“They are throwing chairs out of the windows,” said another bewildered GloboNews commentator, Eliane Cantanhêde. “They are destroying public buildings.”

The veteran leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, was sworn in as Brazil’s new president last Sunday in celebrations attended by hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.

But thousands of pro-Bolsonaro extremists have refused to accept Lula’s narrow victory in October’s election, spending recent weeks camping outside army bases across the country and calling for a military coup.

On Sunday, one pro-Bolsonaro mob marched from the army headquarters in Brasília towards the heart of Brazilian politics, the Three Powers Plaza, which houses the supreme court, the presidential palace and congress.

The militants – many wearing the yellow and green Brazil flag that became a symbol of Bolsonaro’s far-right movement – broke through police lines and surged on to the ramp leading into the congress building.

“Brasília has its Capitol day,” tweeted the political commentator Rodrigo Rangel.

Leftist politicians voiced shock and anger as the horde advanced. “The National Congress is being attacked by TERRORISTS!” tweeted Randolfe Rodrigues, a senator.

Police officer shooting
Police confront protesters invading the National Congress in Brasília, Brazil. Photograph: Andre Borges/EPA

Soon after another prominent Lula ally, André Janones, shared footage that showed scores of radicals inside the grounds of the Palácio do Planalto, the presidential offices where last week’s inauguration ceremony was held.

“Terrorists have invaded the Planalto,” Janones tweeted.

Portugal’s foreign minister, João Gomes Cravinho, told Reuters that he believed “without a doubt” that Bolsonaro was responsible for the scenes, adding: “His voice is heard by these anti-democratic demonstrators.”

World leaders were quick to condemn the upheaval, which Chile’s president, Gabriel Boric, denounced as a “disgraceful” and “cowardly and vile attack on democracy”.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, condemned the stormings in a tweet on Sunday night, saying: “I offer my full support to president Lula and to the institutions that were freely and democratically chosen by the Brazilian people. We categorically condemn the assault on the congress of Brazil and call for an immediate return to democratic normality.”

Observers have spent months warning that Bolsonaro hardliners might stage a South American version of the US’s Capitol invasion in the hope of overturning Lula’s win. During his tumultuous four-year administration, Bolsonaro repeatedly hinted that a military takeover might be in the works and battled to undermine Brazil’s internationally respected electronic voting system.

“Bolsonaro and his team have looked very closely at what happened on January 6 trying to understand why it was that a sitting president failed in his effort to overturn election results,” the former US ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, told the Guardian before last year’s election.

Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain whose main international ally was Donald Trump, flew out of Brazil on the eve of Lula’s inauguration and is currently in Florida.

He fell almost completely silent after Lula’s victory, with many interpreting his silence as a tacit approval of the anti-democratic protesters.

The weeks leading up to Lula’s 1 January inauguration saw two clear signals of the violence that was to come.

On 13 December, radicals tried to storm the federal police headquarters in Brasília, torching buses and cars as they moved through the city. Just before Christmas another extremist Bolsonaro supporter was arrested and allegedly confessed to a plot to bomb Brasília’s airport in an attempt to spark turmoil that might justify a military coup.

READ MORE: Nikos Androulakis blames Trump for Bolsonaro supporters storming Brazil's congress.