©Health & Fitness Journal. A bus burns as supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro protest after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered a preliminary arrest warrant for indigenous leader Jose Acacio Serere Xavante in Brasil 2/5 for alleged anti-democracy acts
By Ueslei Marcelino and Carolina Pulice
BRASILIA (Health & Fitness Journal) – Supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tried to break into the federal police headquarters in Brasilia, the capital, on Monday, protesting the arrest of an indigenous leader in the first major outbreak of post-election violence.
Television images, as well as videos shared by federal police officers with Health & Fitness Journal, showed burned-out cars, a bus set on fire and the sound of explosions and what appeared to be rubber bullets being fired.
Bolsonaro supporters, wearing their signature yellow national jerseys, were seen charging from the scene with sticks and debris. In another video, they were seen trying to push a bus off a bridge in Brasilia.
The invasion attempt came after Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who was investigating Bolsonaro and his allies, ordered the temporary arrest of José Acácio Serere Xavante on Monday for alleged anti-democracy acts.
On the same day, the Federal Electoral Court (TSE) confirmed the October 30 election victory of Bolsonaro’s left-wing rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as president. After months of baseless insinuations that electronic voting was vulnerable to fraud, Bolsonaro has still not conceded defeat to Lula, but he has not blocked the transfer of power.
The incident brings back memories of the Jan. 6 invasion of the US Capitol by supporters of former US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro’s political idol. It also raises security concerns about January 1, when Lula takes office in a public ceremony in Brasilia.
Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, a key Lula adviser, said there were concerns about the physical safety of Lula and vice president-elect Geraldo Alckmin as protesters surrounded the hotel where he is staying in Brasilia. However, Lula’s team denied reports that Lula would be taken out of the hotel by helicopter.
Brazil’s new Justice Minister Flavio Dino tweeted that Lula’s safety was guaranteed.
WEEKS OF PROTESTS
Many of Bolsonaro’s supporters have refused to accept the president’s defeat, camping out outside military bases across the country and urging the armed forces to overturn the result. Xavante, the leader of the indigenous people, is one of the people involved in such protests.
“I cannot accept that criminals rule Brazil,” Xavante tweeted last month. “Lula cannot be certified.”
On Monday, Bolsonaro met with hundreds of supporters in Brasilia and watched in silence, hugging young children as they prayed for him. Last week, as Bolsonaro broke weeks of post-election silence, he said his situation “aches my soul.”
“You are the one who decides where I go. You are the one who decides which way the armed forces will go,” Bolsonaro said to his supporters on Friday at the gates of the presidential residence.
In its statement, the Supreme Court said Moraes had “ordered the temporary detention for 10 days of indigenous José Acácio Serere Xavante on evidence of the commission of crimes of threat, persecution and violent abolition of the democratic rule of law.”
Xavante was said to have led protests across Brasilia and “used his position as chief of the Xavante people to recruit indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to commit crimes” and threatened Lula and the Supreme Court justices.
Xavante “explicitly summoned armed individuals to prevent the certification of elected” politicians, the statement said.
Tensions spilled over after the arrest.
Flavio Dino tweeted earlier Monday that “the devastation and attempted invasion of the Federal Police building in Brasilia is unacceptable. Court orders must be obeyed by the Federal Police.”
Federal police did not respond to a request for comment.
The Brasilia Public Safety Bureau said it had secured the area around Lula’s hotel and urged motorists to avoid the city center, where many roads were closed.