Brazil: Urgent Questions on Attack on Democracy – Politics

The mob is gone, now the cleaning crew is coming. They drive high-pressure cleaners over the dirty carpets, wipe graffiti from the walls, sweep up broken glass. A woman in blue overalls can only shake her head. She’s been working here for 20 years, in the government palace’s cleaning crew, but she says she’s never seen “a thing like that.” in a video on Twitter.

It is indeed a gargantuan level of destruction that the fanatical mob of Bolsonaro supporters left behind in the government palace, Congress and the Supreme Court on Sunday: tables have been smashed, artworks have been shattered, broken printers and computer screens lie scattered around the area like boulders . But soon everything will be “limpo” again, tidy, says Janja Lula da Silva to the camera, she is the wife of the new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The chaos that the mob caused will not be repeated again.

There is little doubt that there must have been sponsors

The clean-up work in Brasília may soon be over, but the coming to terms with the attack on Brazilian democracy is far from over. Increasingly urgent questions are being raised to which the Brazilian authorities and, above all, President Lula, still have no answers. For example, after the masterminds: “We will find the people who financed it,” Lula promises on television. There is little doubt that there must have been sponsors. Sunday’s rioters had been camping in a square in front of the main military barracks in Brasília for about two months; there they wanted to convince the army to depose Lula. Over a thousand people in a camp for weeks: the Brazilian executive believes that it would not have been possible without donors.

The camp, which was cleared on Monday after many rioters initially returned there unmolested, also plays a role in a second question the Brazilian government is desperate for an answer to. It is nine kilometers from the tent camp to the government district, and the Bolsonaristas, as the supporters of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro are called in Brazil, have been lying in wait there for a long time, as mentioned. In addition, the attack had apparently been planned for days by the ABIN secret service According to reports warned against “attacks on government buildings”.

So the police had – unlike their American colleagues when the Capitol was stormed two years ago – plenty of time to arm themselves. Actually. Despite this, few police officers were on duty in front of the institutions, and some were filmed chatting, taking photos and letting people through from the mob.

To what extent was Bolsonaro’s environment involved in the attacks?

The regional government of the capital district, which was responsible for security, governor Ibaneis Rocha and his security chief Anderson Torres were suspended after the attack. Both are close allies of ex-President Bolsonaro. Torres had served in the far-right cabinet as Attorney General.

Speculations about the extent to which Bolsonaro’s environment could be involved in the attacks are also fueled by the fact that Torres was on vacation on Sunday, despite the precarious security situation, in the US state of Florida of all places – exactly where Bolsonaro is going shortly before his successor’s inauguration Lula had forgiven. Bolsonaro narrowly lost the presidential election in the fall, never clearly acknowledged his defeat and repeatedly whispered about manipulation, although everything spoke against it.

The suspicion that the police saw the attack coming and still didn’t react is also supported by an audio recording, published by the Brazilian media. Accordingly, Torres’ deputy Fernando Oliveira sent a voice message to the governor shortly before the riots: “It’s a very peaceful demonstration, so far,” said Oliveira accordingly. Critics argue that this “until now” shows that the regional government considered an escalation possible.

Whether his environment has something to do with it or not – the attacks should have harmed Bolsonaro in any case. His approval ratings broke according to a survey a. In the end, the powerful Brazilian football association CBF also considered it necessary to distance itself – because Bolsonaro supporters usually wear the yellow national jersey, and so did the rioters on Sunday. The jersey is “a symbol of the joy of our people”, the association reports. “We encourage it to be worn to unite Brazilians, not divide them.”

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