Brazil: stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters

On Monday, December 12, 2022, supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attempted to storm the federal police headquarters in the capital, Brasilia, in a glimpse of the violence post-election day in which the electoral defeat of the president was confirmed.

Bolsonaro supporters, many wearing Brazil yellow T-shirts or draped with Brazilian flags, were seen confronting security forces at police headquarters, who fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters. The buses and the auto nearby they were set on fire. The federal police said the “riots” near its headquarters were being tackled with the support of security forces in the capital. The violence came after a Bolsonaro supporter was arrested, allegedly for organizing “anti-democratic violence”, according to the judge who ordered his arrest.

This comes after the Federal Electoral Court confirmed the victory of Bolsonaro’s left-wing rival Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in the October 30 presidential election. After months of unsubstantiated insinuations that the Brazilian voting system was vulnerable to fraud, Bolsonaro has not conceded defeat to Lula, nor has he formally prevented the transfer of power. But some of the president’s hardline supporters blocked highways in protest and camped in front of army barracks, calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office.

Hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters gathered outside the presidential residence on Monday afternoon, holding placards calling for “military intervention”. The president joined them in a public prayer, but did not address the crowd.

Senator Randolph Rodriguez, a key aide to Lula, said there were concerns for the safety of Lula and Vice President-elect Geraldo Alcmene, as protesters surrounded his hotel in Brasilia. Lula’s team has denied reports that he was taken from the hotel in helicopter. Public safety officials in Brasilia said they put in security thearea around the Hotel Lola and urged motorists to avoid the city centre, where many roads have been closed.

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