Brazil riots raise questions of efficiency and loyalty of security forces

© Eraldo Peres, AP

The storming of Brazil’s seat of power by a mob of supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro has put the spotlight on Brazil’s security forces, raising questions about their unpreparedness and incompetence, and perhaps even their complicity with protesters demanding the overturning of a democractic vote.

On Sunday evening, just hours after rioters stormed Brazil’s seat of power in a shocking, but entirely foreseen, attack on democracy, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tore into the country’s security forces.

"There has been a lack of security today,” thundered Lula before accusing security forces of “incompetence, bad faith or malice” in allowing the rioters access to Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace in the capital, Brasilia.

Since the October 30 presidential second round handed Lula a slim victory over far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilians have witnessed extraordinary sights in cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.

Sporting the yellow-and-green colours of the national flag, Bolsonaro supporters set up protest camps right outside Brazilian military barracks and bases.

They pitched tarpaulin tents, fitted with camp beds, stocked with cans and others foodstuffs, and equipped with Internet access. Around them, vendors set up makeshift stalls, doing brisk business as Bolsonaro supporters vociferously called on the army to stage a military coup to “save Brazil”.


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