After hundreds of Bolsonarists looted the presidential palace, Congress and the Supreme Court on Sunday, many questions surfaced about the unpreparedness, incompetence and even complicity of the security forces.
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How did the attackers gain access to places of power so easily? Who financed this attack on Brazilian democracy?
Why didn’t the security forces earlier dismantle camps of supporters of far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro who had been set up outside barracks across the country for two months, demanding military intervention to prevent left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva comes to power? ?
“Tragedy in Brasilia more than announced,” headlined columnist Eliomar de Lima in a column for Fortaleza-based (Northeast) daily O Povo.
There was no lack of warning signs. On Saturday evening, a hundred buses carrying about 4,000 Bolsonarists arrived in the capital and joined a camp opposite the army headquarters.
Justice Minister Flavio Dino then authorized the deployment of agents from the National Force, a special police force sometimes dispatched to different states in the event of a threat to law and order.
That didn’t stop the rioters from walking the eight kilometers between their camp and Three Powers Square without a police blockade, where the Presidential Palace, the Supreme Court and Congress meet.
“We can see in the pictures that (the Bolsonarists) were led (by the police) to the Three Powers site,” Lula lamented at a news conference.
“The law enforcement officers in the Federal District (Brasilia) have shown incompetence, malice or malice,” he accused.
Minutes before the invasion, a security officer in Brasilia sent a comforting — and surreal, considering what happened next — audio message to Federal District Governor Ibaneis Rocha.
“The demonstrators are escorted by the police (…) and the climate is calm, it’s a completely peaceful demonstration,” he said in this recording published by the Metropoles website.
In its editorial published on Monday, the daily Estado de S. Paulo highlighted “the chilling ease with which the vandals, who did not accept the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro, entered the centers of power in Brasilia during the worst assault on Brazilian democracy since the end of the military dictatorship (1964-1985).
Long before the coaches arrived, numerous publications on social networks showed that the attack had been meticulously prepared for several days.
“All costs have been paid. water, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And you will camp at the Planalto (the Presidential Palace),” we might read, for example, in a Bolsonarist group of Telegram messages.
Which seriously calls into question the effectiveness of the secret services.
The attitude of some police officers has also been singled out, with videos showing officers filming the attack on their phones rather than intervening.
“The security forces were there, but they did not act to prevent this invasion. If it had been a different type of protester, the police response would not have been so peaceful,” lamented Pedro Sabino Rapatoni, administrative assistant in Brasilia.
TV Globo columnist Miriam Leitao on Monday denounced the “bolsonarization of police forces in Brasilia.”
Starting with their leader, Federal District Security Secretary Anderson Torres, former Attorney General of Jair Bolsonaro, who was in the United States on Sunday as ex-president.
“Throughout his tenure as minister, he showed that, above and beyond his functions, he was above all a fervent militant Bolsonarist,” Ms. Leitao said.
Anderson Torres was finally fired Sunday night, and his deputy governor, Gov. Ibaneis Rocha, was suspended from office for 90 days by a Supreme Court judge.
But other heads will soon be rolling, too.