The Roots of Brazil’s Capital Riot Run Deep—and Far

The Roots of Brazil’s Capital Riot Run Deep—and Far
Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro storm the National Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil, Jan. 8, 2023 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

Much like no man is an island, no country is a world apart, detached from global events. That reality was inescapable for those watching the shocking but not unexpected events in the Brazilian capital on Sunday. When supporters of the country’s defeated former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Brasilia’s iconic seat of government—the Three Powers Plaza—and broke into the Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, everyone’s mind flashed back to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington two years earlier.

Two days after the United States had marked the second anniversary of that failed coup attempt, Brasilia had its Janeiro 8, which resembled the insurrection in the U.S. in ways beyond just the striking similarity in the imagery both produced.

The assaults on democracy in Washington and Brasilia were driven by many of the same forces, with similar ideologies, similar playbooks, similar media platforms and, at times, with some of the same players.

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