All the world media are following the riots in Brasilia and the attack on the headquarters of the three main institutions of the Brazilian state: Parliament, the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) and Planalto, the seat of government.
On Sunday 8 January 2023, from approximately 13.30 to 18.30, thousands of Bolsonarist assailants devastated and plundered government buildings, practically without resistance from the police.
In the late afternoon of the same Sunday, the military police regained control of the area, located at the end of the Esplanada dos Ministerios.
The Armed Forces, long incited by the Bolsonarists to lead the coup d’état, did not intervene.
Judge Alexandre de Moraes, Minister of the STF, has determined the suspension for 90 days of the governor of the Federal District (DF), Ibaneis Rocha. The governor is held responsible for the unrest for not having taken the necessary precautions in terms of security and for having culpably delayed the intervention of the Military Police (note: in each State and in the DF the Military Police are under the command of the respective Governors). Furthermore, all demonstrations in Brasilia are prohibited until January 31, 2023 and he has ordered that the pro-Bolsonaro encampments throughout the country be dissolved by Monday 9. At the moment about 1500 people have been arrested and risk very heavy sentences.
President Lula, who was in the state of Sao Paulo at the time of the attack in Brasilia, called an immediate meeting with the representatives of the 3 powers and with the governors of the individual states to take the situation in hand and coordinate an immediate reaction by the state.
Bolsonaro, who has been in Orlando (USA) since the end of December 2022, mildly condemned the episodes of violence, but it is obvious that he was aware of the action that his supporters were organizing in Brasilia as early as January 3.
At the time of writing this article, January 10, 2023, the situation appears to have come under control.
Economic and financial operators are also reacting with firmness and calm, rallying around the institutions and condemning Sunday’s attacks. The Brazilian stock exchange (Bovespa), which was feared to be seized by panic, rose by 0.15% yesterday and the real depreciated by only 0.41%. All business associations (starting from Fiesp and Febraban) have expressed a strong position in defense of democratic institutions.
To conclude, Bolsonarism – involuntarily, but also stupidly – will end up offering, on a silver platter, the Lula government internal and international support that until a few days ago it was struggling to obtain. Paradoxically, despite the seriousness of the situation, a little respite in facing Brazil’s serious problems.
Even more: with this daring attack on the institutions, Bolsonarismo has placed a "bode na sala" (*) which will force Lula to give immediate priority to national security issues, leaving the uncertainties and controversies on the government's economic policy in the background . Once the bode has been "withdrawn from the room", that is, the problem of national security has been resolved, the economic and social issues will almost seem like amenity compared to the danger escaped by Brazilian democracy.
(*) For those who don’t know the parable of the “bode na sala”, I refer you to this nice and interesting article by Sergio Mari Jr.: https://blog.sergiomari.com.br/reflexoes/a-estrategia- do-bode-na-sala