Clad in canary yellow football shirts or draped in the colours of the Brazilian flag, pro-Bolsonaro activists applauded a line of heavily armed police as it marched into their midst in Brasília on Sunday.
Hundreds of extreme rightwing followers had been gathering in Brazil’s modernist capital since late on Friday. On Sunday afternoon they breezed past security cordons and trashed the elegant buildings that host the country’s most important democratic institutions – the presidential palace, the supreme court and the two houses of congress. Now, surely, they seem to have thought, these police were moving in to help them secure control, overturn the alleged fraud that had deprived Jair Bolsonaro of a second term in office, and oust what they described as a leftwing dictatorship now in office.
Just a few minutes later though, the same officers, units of the federal government’s national force, were bundling them on to buses and whisking them off to police cells. With more than 1,000 people detained, the first phase of a promised pro-Bolsonaro insurrection had ended not in the crash of a military coup, but a whimper.
For the radical fringes of the movement, the outcome marked a disappointing end to what has been a sad time. Their leader, Bolsonaro himself, is hardly a source of inspiration. Moody and largely silent since his narrow second-round election defeat at the end of October, the former army captain has quit the country. Deprived of the political immunity he once enjoyed, the former president reportedly fears being a target of legal action and has gone to ground in Florida, a US state much favoured by other anti-communist conservatives from Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America. [Continue reading…]
As Brazil reels from mobs of rioters swarming its seats of power, its former leader has decamped to a Florida resort, where droves of supporters flocked to cheer on their ousted president.
Devotees have traveled in recent days to the temporary home of Jair Bolsonaro, a gated community with towering waterslides, for a chance to see him. He signed autographs, hugged children and took selfies with adoring masses, some sporting “Make Brazil Great Again” shirts. [Continue reading…]