Supporters of Bolsonaro in Brazil stormed the echo congress on January 6

Thousands of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro broke through security barriers in the capital Brasilia on Sunday and stormed congress, the supreme court and the presidential palace to protest his election defeat.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is not in the palace. Police used pepper spray in an unsuccessful attempt to control protesters early Sunday. Security forces were able to clear the supreme court of rioters who invaded the building.

Protesters were still inside the congressional building as of Sunday afternoon.

Television images showed thousands of protesters, draped in Brazilian flags and wearing the yellow national jersey, flooding into congress and other branches of government in an event similar to January. 6, 2021 invasion of the US Capitol. Security forces seem to have lost control of Brasilia’s main square which is the center of government. Some rioters broke windows and committed other acts of vandalism, while others took videos and selfies.

“I strongly reject these anti-democratic acts, which must urgently go through the weight of the law,” Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco said in Twitter.

The unrest on Sunday followed months of protests in front of military installations by Bolsonaro supporters demanding an intervention to prevent Lula from returning to power. In late December there was a fear of the bomb near Brasilia airport. More than a hundred buses of Bolsonaro supporters arrived in Brasilia ahead of Sunday’s protests.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino said the security forces are working to control the situation and that the federal district will send reinforcements. Gleisi Hoffmann, the president of the ruling Workers’ Party, criticized the capital’s authorities for failing to prevent civil unrest.

Bolsonaro himself never fully accepted his defeat in the October election and vacationed in Orlando, Florida, instead of attending Lula’s inauguration.

Christian Lynch, a political scientist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, said that Sunday’s events will cause irreversible damage to Bolsonaro’s movement, and that the response from all branches of government will be swift and unforgiving.

“It will crush the legitimacy of the far right,” he said. “The system will end any authorization for these people.”

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