The similarities between Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro refused to cease even after both men were voted out of power. Mr. Trump, the former U.S. President, did not immediately concede his election defeat, questioning the authenticity of the 2020 elections, while his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In Brazil, Mr. Bolsonaro, the far-right politician who was voted out late last year, refused to publicly concede, while his supporters were staging violent protests in Brasilia. On January 8, a week after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the leftist Workers Party leader who beat Mr. Bolsonaro, was sworn in, the latter’s supporters stormed Brazil’s institutional trinity — the presidential palace, the Supreme Court and Congress.
The protesters demanded the military to shut down Lula’s government and wrest control of the country. In a relatively young democracy that saw a violent military dictatorship for 20 years from 1964, the invasion of institutions posed a significant challenge to Lula’s presidency. Things appear to be under control, as of now. The military has not paid any attention to the calls for a coup. Federal security personnel have cleared the government building of rioters.
Even Mr. Bolsonaro had to decry the storming of the institutions. The Supreme Court has stepped in, ordering the military police to remove the camps of Bolsonaro supporters, removing Brasilia’s provincial chief, a Bolsonaro ally and authorising probe into Mr. Bolsonaro.
But the incident also shows how divided Brazilian society is, which could pose profound challenges to Lula, who, in his third term, has promised to tackle income inequality and get the economy back on track.
Lending their voice: Indigenous people, supporters of Brazil’s then President Jair Bolsonaro, take part in a protest against President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for freedom and against censorship in Brasilia.
Police officers stand guard as supporters of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gesture during a protest after Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered a temporary arrest warrant of indigenous leader Jose Acacio Serere Xavante for alleged anti-democratic acts, in Brasilia.
Playing with fire: A bus is seen on fire as Bolsonaro supporters protest after Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered a temporary arrest warrant of indigenous leader Jose Acacio Serere Xavante for alleged anti-democratic acts.
Palace coup: Riot police tackle Bolsonaro supporters as they invade the Presidential Palace in Brasilia
At the helm: Brazil's new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva takes his dog "Resistencia" by the leash as he walks up the ramp upon being welcomed by indigenous Brazilian leader and environmentalist Raoni Metuktire, known as Chief Raoni and other community representatives at Planalto Palace after his inauguration ceremony at the National Congress, in Brasilia.
Full regalia: Lula stands with Chief Raoni after receiving the presidential sash from him and other community representatives, at Planalto Palace
Street fight: Police cars are pictured amidst tear gas after being pushed off the road by supporter of Brazil's far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia
New Beginnings: People react during Brazil's new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s induction ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 1, 2023
Voice of the people: Members of social movements protest in defense of democracy in Sao Paulo, Brazil.