The riot mess is cleared, but will Brazil pass the democracy stress test?

© Andre Penner, AP

When far-right rioters stormed Brazil’s seat of government it was a shock to the system, but with a new president at the helm, the country appeared to quickly recover amid a display of unity. But Brazil’s problems have not magically disappeared and Latin America’s geopolitical behemoth faces several challenges, with democracy topping the list.

Izabela A. voted for the far-right incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, in the October presidential election. But she was not part of the mob of his supporters who stormed Brazil’s seat of power on Sunday. Nevertheless, she’s afraid of being monitored on social media and she's very careful about what she says these days.

A day after rioters stormed Brazil's Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace, police arrested more than 1,500 people. Some were caught in the act of trashing the buildings, most were detained at a protest camp of Bolsonaro supporters outside the military headquarters in the capital, Brasilia. Hundreds of them – mostly the sick, elderly and mothers with young children – have since been released, according to the federal police.

Meanwhile a mass campaign has been launched to identify the rioters and their masterminds. The justice ministry, federal police and state prosecutors all set up email accounts where members of the public can send leads and tips. High-profile Brazilian digital investigators and influencers have answered the call to help identify the insurrectionists.

The meeting was followed by a visit to the heavily damaged Supreme Court building with the leaders of the three branches of government trailed by news camera teams and broadcast live on national TV.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Brazil riots raise questions of efficiency and loyalty of security forces
Brazil’s democracy under threat? Lula vows post-riot crackdown on far-right supporters
Brazil issues arrest warrants for security chiefs after pro-Bolsonaro riots