Brazil: Socialists say ‘Stop the coup offensive’ as extreme right protesters storm Congress

January 9, 2023
Brazil Jan 8 2023
Supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro storm government buildings in Brazil’s capital, on January 8. Photo: Progressive International/Twitter

The Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) has condemned the invasion by former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro supporters of Brazil’s National Congress, the Federal Supreme Court and the president’s official residency, arguing it “represents an attempted coup d’état”.

The events follow the inauguration of Workers’ Party President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva on January 1. Da Silva defeated Bolsonaro in a run-off election last October.

Referring to the January 8 events in Brasilia as a “Brazilian version of the ‘Capitol Hill riot’” — a reference to the storming of US Congress by former president Donald Trump’s supporters — Brazil’s largest radical anti-capitalist party said in a statement issued by its National Executive and federal parliamentarians that same day, that “PSOL will not accept this coup offensive”.

PSOL general secretary Israel Dutra spoke to Green Left about the events, explaining that there were “three points that need to be taken into consideration”.

“First, we can characterise this as a very similar movement to the one that we saw on Capitol Hill in the United States, including with the same characteristics, the same groups, the same tragi-comic elements of the extreme right that today find themselves isolated.

“Second, there was a clear act of omission on the part of the Federal District government, where the capital is located. The Secretary of Security, Anderson Torres, who is responsible for the Federal District police, was minister for justice in the outgoing Bolsonaro government. We believe there was collaboration, whether direct or indirect, between the government and the protests.

“Third, this was not a majoritarian action, it is an isolated event — but it is a very dangerous one, and we have begun to mobilise to repel it.

“Most importantly, Lula has gone on TV to give a very harsh speech against the coup plotters and fascists. He has accused Bolsonaro, who is currently in the United States, of committing genocide.

“We on the left are trying to organise an emergency meeting of the social movements tomorrow [January 9] to organise a day of mobilisations.”       

In its statement, PSOL calls for:

“Identification and exemplary punishment of all those involved, be they the terrorists involved in the acts of depredation, or be they the financiers, in accordance with the law in defence of the Democratic Rule of Law (Law 14197/2021);

“Federal intervention in the matter of public security in the Federal District;

“Immediate dismissal of the Secretary of Security of the Federal District, Anderson Torres;

“Installation of a CPI [Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry] to investigate the negligence of the Security Forces in the CLDF [Legislative Chamber of the Federal District] and in the National Congress;

“Summoning of the Governor of the Federal District to testify on the coup events and the actions of the police;

“Immediate dismantlement of the pro-coup camps that have been set up in front of the Army Headquarters in the capital and in other states; and

“Strengthening of popular mobilisation against Bolsonarism, with support to all demonstrations called by social movements to defend Brazilian democracy.”

The statement concludes: “Today’s action reinforces the importance of there being no amnesty for the Bolsonaristas who, inside and outside the Bolsonaro government, have committed and continue to commit new crimes against the Brazilian people.

“The PSOL will not accept this coup offensive without reacting. In addition to defending that the authorities act in support of the Democratic Rule of Law, confronted with this coup attempt we are ready to defend the sovereign will of the ballot boxes through our work in the social movements, with the knowledge that popular mobilisation is crucial to stopping the extreme right.”

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