Two years after the Capitol riots in the US – Brazil now faces the reality democracy can be very fragile | World News

Police officers in a 4×4 pulled up next to us as we filmed in the Three Powers Plaza in Brasilia.

The trashed Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace buildings surround us.

They told us we needed to clear the square as forensics teams were about to begin their analysis of the damage.

Other teams are already combing through the damaged offices and auditoriums of the institutions of state.

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What’s happening in Brazil’s capital?

It’s a huge crime scene and they said they needed the team to start their work.

In reality, there’s not much for them to see outside, but the criminal inquiry is in many ways a symbol of how importantly the authorities now realise a thorough investigation is needed.

Brazil is now contemplating the reality that democracy can be very fragile.

Like the protesters who overran the Capitol building in Washington DC two years ago in the name of Donald Trump, the supporters of the defeated right-wing former leader Jair Bolsonaro believe he is the rightful president.

Who carried out the attack, who organised it, and what the police did or didn’t do are all being looked into.

Witnesses to the storming of the buildings say Bolsonaro’s supporters came equipped and determined to get inside right from the very start.

“I saw masked people, people holding sticks and some with backpacks looking suspicious,” Matheus Alves, a Brazilian photographer who has covered many of these protests in the capital, told me.

“Even on their social networks and their WhatsApp groups they were leaking information and talking about invading the Congress and the Supreme Court, so it felt like there was coordination in planning these attacks.”

Read more:
Around 1,500 detained following storming of government buildings
Analysis: Brazil protests are straight out of Trump’s playbook

Pic: Matheius Alves
Pic: Matheus Alves

Pointing to the road in front of the presidential palace, Mr Alves explained how the police retreated from the main ramp leading into the palace to a set of traffic lights nearby.

“And that’s when the crowd felt comfortable to invade the palace,” he added.

Critics say the response was disjointed and completely lacking, and President Lula da Silva says his government will investigate the behaviour of the police on the day.

Hundreds of people arrested at the scene and in front of army bases, are being housed in the gymnasium of the country’s police training academy in Brasilia.

Pic: Matheus Alves
Pic: Matheus Alves

Many have been posting videos on social media, showing row after row of people being held, basically camping out in the gym.

Outside the building, lawyers, politicians, journalists, and some families wait for any news.

It’s understood that as each case is heard the accused are then taken away to proper prisons where they will await trial.

Pic: Matheus Alves
Pic: Matheus Alves

Bianca Tereza Pires is waiting to hear what will happen to her cousin Arioldo Rodrigues Junior. The 50-year-old was arrested with others as part of the investigation into the incident on Sunday.

“I think they are very scared, because they’re saying that they might go to prison at some point,” she told me.

Despite her concerns, Pires says she supports her cousin’s actions.

Bianca Tereza Pires is waiting to hear what will happen to her cousin who was arrested
Bianca Tereza Pires is waiting to hear what will happen to her cousin who was arrested

“We are here fighting for our freedom, and for the truth, we only want the truth really… and we are on the side of facts, and truth, and I support him.”

Just like the protesters, these family members believe Jair Bolsonaro is the rightful president and appear determined to keep demonstrating against the result.

And despite all that’s happened, they still believe the army will actually come out in support and take over.

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