Explaining Brazil #166: Will Brazil have its own January 6 riots?

Many fear September 7 could be Brazil's own version of the U.S. Capitol riots. Given the local scenario, a similar movement could be bloodier

For members of the Brazilian Supreme Court, the pro-Bolsonaro demonstration scheduled for little under two weeks’ time is less of a political protest, and more of a call to arms for “riots.” Not only have participants promised to corner the Supreme Court and Congress, but they are set to have the backing of multiple leaders of state military police forces.

In Brasília, many fear this could be Brazil’s own version of the January 6 riots, when a mob of far-right demonstrators stormed the Capitol building in the U.S., causing clashes that left five people dead. Given the scenario in Brazil, a similar movement could have much bloodier consequences.

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  • Alex Hochuli is a São Paulo-based political analyst and host of the Aufhebunga Bunga podcast, which discusses contemporary politics.

Background reading:

  • As we explained in our latest Brazil Weekly newsletter, President Jair Bolsonaro is waiting for the perfect moment to openly disregard a Supreme Court ruling.
  • Pro-Bolsonaro militants are planning demonstrations in Brasília and São Paulo on September 7, Brazil’s Independence Day. Organizers were targeted by a Federal Police operation on Friday, after the Federal Prosecution Office called the demo an “uprising.”
  • President Bolsonaro said he will join protests on Independence Day, and a state lawmaker in São Paulo claimed on Tuesday that military police officers from around São Paulo state have hired 50 buses to take troops to demos in the state capital.
  • Mr. Bolsonaro’s recent radicalization comes as his re-election chances dip, according to polls. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva currently holds a 16-point lead over him.
  • Drawing inspiration from U.S. groups, the Brazilian far-right is highly active on the Parler network, where conspiracy theories circulate freely.
  • After two and a half years of issuing strongly-worded statements against President Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on democracy, members of high courts in Brasília have decided to take effective action against the far-right leader.

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