How Brazilian politics reacted to Bolsonarist terrorism in Brasilia


Read Time: 5 minutes

From the upper echelons of power to the streets, the answer was unanimous: no backsliding on the conquests of democracy

Gabriela Moncau e Flávia Chacon

Translated by: Flávia Chacon

São Paulo (SP) |

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More than ever, we cannot accept an amnesty – Porjetemos/Instagram

On Sunday (8), the eyes of the world turned once again to Brasilia when Bolsonarists invaded the National Congress, the Planalto Palace [presidential palace] and the Supreme Court. Photos of destroyed plenary chambers, offices and works of art illustrated the terror that ravaged the federal capital a week after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) was sworn in for his third term.

Although the public security institutions of the Federal District did not play the expected role – and, on the contrary, were accomplices of the barbarity – the Brazilian response, from the summits of power to the streets, was unanimous in defending democracy.

24 hours after the event, president Lula met with the 27 governors, the presidents of the House and Senate, members of the Supreme Court (STF) and the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia and stated that the Brazilian institutions will investigate and locate all those who financed the extremist invasions.


Em discurso, Lula afirmou que todos os responsáveis pelos atos terroristas ocorridos em Brasília no domingo (8) / Ricardo Stuckert

“In the name of defending democracy, we will not be authoritarian with anyone, but we will not be condescending to anyone. We will investigate and we will get to the people who financed it,” he assured, in a blunt speech. The president also reinforced the defense of the democratic system in the country: “We will not allow democracy to escape our hands because it is the only chance we have to guarantee that these humble people can eat three times a day or have the right to work.

The president was harsh in his speech about the collusion of the military. “Everyone here knows how many people were tortured for not agreeing with the military government, and now people are freely calling for a coup in front of the barracks and nothing was done by any barracks, no general moved to say ‘this can’t happen,’ ‘it is forbidden to ask for this,’ ‘we are not going to do this.’ It gave the impression that there were people who liked it when the people were calling for a coup,” he declared.

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When referring to those who continue mobilizing against democracy, Lula recalled that there was no constructive agenda. “The people who were in the streets, at the barrack doors, had no agenda of demands,” Lula said. “They were in all the states at the barrack doors, demanding what? Claiming to improve the quality of life of the people? Demanding more freedom? Claiming for a pay raise? Demanding housing construction? Demanding improved agricultural production in this country? No, they were demanding a coup. That was the only thing you could hear about,” he said.

Lula also received solidarity from different sectors because of the extremist attacks that shocked the country on Sunday (8). The meeting aimed to demonstrate the unity of all powers around the defense of democracy and counter the invasions promoted by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who vandalized the buildings of Congress, the Planalto and the STF.
The petitioner received expressions of support even from names aligned to the former captain, as is the case of the governors of São Paulo, Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans), and the Federal District, Celina Leão (PP), who is replacing interim Ibaneis Rocha (Brazilian Democratic Movement).

Walk through the Three Powers Square

After the meeting, Lula invited all the participants to walk across the Three Powers Square to the Supreme Court building. The goal was for everyone to be able to personally see the destruction caused by the coup plotters on Sunday.


Lula descends the Planalto ramp alongside the heads of the branches of government, ministers of the Federal Supreme Court and governors / MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP

At the end of the visit to the STF, Lula said that everyone is disappointed with the events of Sunday (8). “This square is a symbol of Brasilia, a symbol of our system of government and we are all disappointed, frustrated, not to say very angry with what happened here. We will not give up until we find out who is responsible for financing everything that has happened in this country.”

“No amnesty”

While the summit of power was meeting in Brasilia, demonstrators took to the streets across Brazil and abroad in defense of democracy and against the Bolsonarist attack. The slogan that was heard most was “no amnesty.” The demand turns, in particular, to the accountability of former President Bolsonaro for the crimes committed during his mandate. The last two days of his mandate he has already spent in the United States, where he remains since he no longer has a privileged forum.

The claim, already strongly expressed by the crowd that attended the inauguration of President Lula, now gains new contours, with the demand that the participants of the coup plot, and especially its financiers, sponsors and colluding state authorities be held responsible. Among them, the governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha (MDB), who has been removed from office for 90 days by the STF, and his exonerated security secretary, Anderson Torres. 

On Paulista Avenue, one of the main addresses in São Paulo, thousands of people gathered, called by the Povo Sem Medo and Brasil Popular fronts and by the Black Coalition for Rights. Around 8 p.m., the nearly 60,000 people began walking toward the city center, accompanied by projections on buildings with sayings such as “no amnesty” and “back down fascist.”


Projection at MASP repeats the slogan “no amnesty”, omnipresent in the demonstration / Gabriela Moncau

“We have already overthrown Bolsonaro at the polls, let’s overthrow Bolsonarism in the streets,” said a member of Uneafro at the microphone. In the sound car in front of MASP, adorned, among others, with a big flag of Dr. Sócrates Brasileiro, parliamentarians from the São Paulo State University (MASP) were present. Sócrates Brasileiro, congressmen like Eduardo Suplicy (PT), Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) and Carolina Iara (PSOL) and activists from movements like the MST [Landless Rural Workers Movement], MTST [Homeless Workers Movement], MNU [Unified Black Movement] and Unegro [Black People’s Union for Equality] took turns speaking against the coup attempt and reaffirming the legitimacy of the ballot box decision that elected the new PT government.

Besides Brazil, acts were held in Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

“From now on we go into permanent mobilization. Tomorrow late afternoon we will have acts in defense of democracy and against criminals in several places in Brazil. Besides the judicial and police offensive we have the popular offensive,” said the president of the Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffmann.

Edited by: Thales Schmidt


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