By Cat Woodcock, age 11 and IndyKids staff
Similar to the infamous Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in the United States, angry Bolsonaro supporters stormed the National Congress of Brazil and other federal government buildings in the capital, Brasília, on Jan. 8, 2022. The events took place one week after the new leftist President Lula da Silva was sworn in.
On Oct. 30, Brazilian voters chose Lula as their new president and push out Jair Bolsonaro. The votes were extremely close, with Lula leading with just 50.9% of the vote. With 49.1% of the electorate losing the vote, many of the far-right former leader’s supporters were enraged and stormed the buildings, calling for the military to take over Brazil’s government.
Photos and videos posted online showed protesters breaking windows, yelling, climbing on roofs and clashing with security. Former President Jair Bolsonaro has also been accused of inciting much of the anger by claiming—without any evidence—that the voting machines were fraudulent and not secure, a similar claim to the one made by Trump following the 2020 presidential race in the United States. Bolsonaro stated to his followers a year before the presidential vote, “I will either win, be killed or arrested.”
During his presidency, Bolsonaro attracted global attention for his controversial policies and his executive action that crushed efforts to improve the environment. Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest went up by 60% over the three years he was president. In contrast to this, during Lula’s previous presidency in Brazil from 2003 to 2011, deforestation in the Amazon fell by 67%.
Lula now hopes to reverse the damage caused by Bolsonaro. “Our goal is to reach zero deforestation and zero greenhouse gas emissions in our electrical grid,” announced Lula in his inaugural address to Congress.