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Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazil Congress and presidential palace


Today’s riots come about a week after the inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defeated Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff election on Oct. 30 and now returns to power after a 12-year hiatus.

The election came amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil, which has been struggling with high inflation, limited growth and rising poverty.

In the weeks since Bolsonaro’s loss, thousands of his supporters have gathered at military barracks across the country, asking the army to step in as they claim, with no evidence, that the election was stolen.

The former president’s claims: Bolsonaro alleged that some voting machines malfunctioned in the runoff contest with Lula. He issued a petition to annul ballots from the election.

The head of Brazil’s electoral court rejected that petition as “ludicrous and illicit” and “ostensibly conspiratorial toward the democratic rule of law.”

In his ruling, Alexandre De Moraes, Chief Justice of the Supreme Electoral Court Alexandre, said all models of electronic ballots were “perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure and integral way.”

Bolsonaro’s administration said it would cooperate with the transition of power, but the far-right leader has stopped short of explicitly conceding his election loss, and he left the country for the United States prior to Lula’s inauguration.

Bolsonaro supporters have been camped out in the capital since then. Justice Minister Flavio Dino authorized the Armed Forces to set up barriers and guard the congressional building Saturday due to the continued presence of Bolsonaro supporters. But the crowd breached those defenses Sunday.

Earlier violence: In the time since Bolsonaro declined to explicitly concede his election loss, there have been other instances of violence in Brazil.

A man was arrested in Brasília after he was caught trying to get into Lula’s inauguration party carrying a knife and fireworks, the State Police of the Federal District said in a statement.

Police also arrested a man on suspicion of planting and possessing explosive devices at Brasília International Airport.

The suspect, identified as 54-year-old gas station manager George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, is a Bolsonaro supporter and told police in a statement, seen by CNN, that he intended to “create chaos” so as to prevent Lula from taking office.

Bolsonaro condemned Sousa’s bombing attempt, saying “there is no justification” for a “terrorist act.”

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