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Biden condemns “assault on democracy“ in Brazil

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Supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva while security forces operate, outside Brazil’s National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday condemned “the assault on democracy” in Brazil after supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro invaded the country’s Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court.

Biden said he looked forward to continuing to work with leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro in the most fraught election in a generation last year.

“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,” Biden said on Twitter.

Earlier on Sunday, Biden said the situation in Brazil was “outrageous.”

The violence echoed the U.S. Capitol invasion two years ago by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

The sight of thousands of yellow-and-green clad protesters running riot in the capital capped months of tension following Brazil’s Oct. 30 vote. Bolsonaro, an acolyte of Trump’s who has yet to concede defeat, peddled the false claim that Brazil’s electronic voting system was prone to fraud, spawning a violent movement of election deniers.

“I condemn this outrageous assault on #Brazil’s govt buildings incited by demagogue Bolsonaro’s reckless disregard for democratic principles,” U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Twitter.

“2 yrs since Jan. 6, Trump’s legacy continues to poison our hemisphere. Protecting democracy & holding malign actors to account is essential.”

Bolsonaro flew to Florida 48 hours before the end of his mandate and was absent from Lula’s inauguration.

Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN that Bolsonaro “basically used the Trump playbook to inspire domestic terrorists to try to take over the government” and “is a dangerous man.”

“The United States should not be a refuge for this authoritarian who has inspired domestic terrrorism in Brazil,” Castro said. “He should be sent back to Brazil.”

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