The violent attack on government buildings in Brasília following Lula’s inauguration should set off alarm bells outside the country too
The shock at the storming of Brazil’s democratic institutions by violent supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro, seemingly seeking to overthrow his elected successor, has not worn off. It is, if anything, deepening as the days pass. It is felt most profoundly, of course, in Brazil itself. But it should resonate much more widely.
The wreckage left by the mob as they tore through the presidential palace, national congress and supreme court on 8 January testifies to their orgy of violence. But the deeper fear is about the extent to which rioters were enabled or abetted by powerful vested interests and even parts of the state. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said he suspected that members of the presidential staff facilitated the insurrectionists’ entry. Who laid on buses for crowds to travel to the capital? How were the Bolsonaristas able to camp on army land around the capital for weeks? Given intelligence warnings, why were the buildings not better protected? The former justice minister Anderson Torres, Brasília’s security chief when the attacks happened, has been arrested in connection with the events. The supreme court is to investigate the role of Mr Bolsonaro himself in its inquiry.