Brazil Bishops Denounce Violent Seizure of Congress, President’s Office and Supreme Court

‘The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, disconcerted by the serious and violent events in Brazil, calls for tranquility and peace, as well as the immediate cessation of criminal attacks on the democratic rule of law.’

The Plenary to the Brazilian Senate is seen at the Brazilian National Congress Jan. 9, following a riot the previous day led by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called for peace after what he described as a coup attempt, after more than 1,200 supporters of Bolsonar taking the national congress.
The Plenary to the Brazilian Senate is seen at the Brazilian National Congress Jan. 9, following a riot the previous day led by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called for peace after what he described as a coup attempt, after more than 1,200 supporters of Bolsonar taking the national congress. (photo: Andressa Anholete / Getty Images)

The Catholic bishops of Brazil condemned the violent seizure on Jan. 8 of Congress, the president’s office and the Supreme Court in Brasilia, the country’s capital.

According to Globo TV, these three branches of the Brazilian government are already under the control of law enforcement. There are also dozens of detainees.

“The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), disconcerted by the serious and violent events in Brazil, calls for tranquility and peace, as well as the immediate cessation of criminal attacks on the democratic rule of law,” the prelates said on Twitter.

“These attacks must be immediately contained and their organizers and participants held accountable to the full extent of the law. Citizens and democracy must be protected,” the conference stressed.

A large crowd, presumably supporters of now former President Jair Bolsonaro, seized on Sunday various areas of the National Congress, the Federal Supreme Court, and Planalto Palace (the president’s workplace), which together comprise the seat of the Brazilian government.

Last October, Bolsonaro narrowly lost a bid for a second term as president to   Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was sworn into office Jan. 1 and had previously served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2011.

The violent protesters are demanding the resignation of Lula as well as intervention by the military. Several videos show broken windows and protesters walking in the Congress building.

According to the BBC, Lula announced at a press conference in Sao Paulo federal intervention in Brasilia to “guarantee public safety” and said that what happened “is unprecedented in the country’s history.”

He also ordered a 24-hour closure of downtown Brasilia, where the buildings taken over this Sunday are located.

“What happened this afternoon in Brasilia is unacceptable!” said the archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer.

He cardinal said on Twitter: “That has no place in democratic coexistence. People need to calm down. Those who want to be respected have to respect others.” 

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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