World leaders condemn anti-government mob attacks in Brazil

Former President Jair Bolsonaro's supporters invade the Planalto Presidential Palace after leftist Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva took office. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden assailed Sunday’s attacks by supporters of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil as “outrageous”, as condemnation poured in from around the world against mobs that smashed their way into the halls of power in Brasilia.

Mr Biden condemned “the assault on democracy” in Brazil, after supporters of far-right former president Bolsonaro invaded the country’s Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court.

“I condemn the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined,” Mr Biden said on Twitter.

He added that he looked forward to continuing to work with leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who defeated Mr Bolsonaro in a fraught election last year.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the actions.

“The will of the Brazilian people and the democratic institutions must be respected!” he tweeted, adding that “President @LulaOficial can count on France’s unwavering support”.

As part of an outpouring of support for Lula after the stunning scenes in Brazil’s capital, Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez assailed the “coup attempt” by supporters of Bolsonaro.

Fellow South American leaders in Chile, Colombia and Venezuela deplored the mob action, and French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his support for Mr Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the leftist who took office as Brazil’s leader a week ago.

“The will of the Brazilian people and the democratic institutions must be respected!” Mr Macron tweeted.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted that “President (Joe) Biden is following the situation closely and our support for Brazil’s democratic institutions is unwavering.”

Brazil’s democracy, he added, “will not be shaken by violence”.

The European Union’s top foreign affairs official, Mr Josep Borrell, tweeted that he was “appalled by the acts of violence and illegal occupation of Brasilia’s government quarter by violent extremists today.

“Brazilian democracy will prevail over violence and extremism,” he added.

The Twitter account of Democrats on the US Senate foreign relations committee noted that the Brasilia ransacking came nearly two years to the day after supporters of then-president Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, leaving five dead.

“Trump’s legacy continues to poison our hemisphere,” the tweet said.

Around the Western hemisphere, reaction was particularly swift from leaders ideologically akin to Mr Lula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tweeted: “Lula is not alone, he has the support of the progressive forces of his country, of Mexico, of the American continent and of the world.”

Chilean President Gabriel Boric decried “this cowardly and vile attack on democracy” and said the Lula government has Chile’s “complete backing”。

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, a leftist authoritarian, condemned what he called the “neofascist groups” seeking to unseat Mr Lula.

China on Monday said it “firmly opposes the violent attack” on government buildings in the Brazilian capital.

“China closely follows and firmly opposes the violent attack on the federal authority in Brazil on Jan 8,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, adding that Beijing “supports the measures taken by the Brazilian government to calm the situation, restore social order and safeguard national stability”. AFP

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