Two years and two days after Donald Trump’s supporters invaded Capitol Hill, Brazil had its own January 6. That’s how many are describing the events in Brasilia, while others say they were “January 6-like”.
In fact, they were anything but. Brazil has just faced down an Uber January 6; a January 6 Grande.
If insurrections were coffee, the barista would say that was an extra-large serving of the good stuff. (Footage of the shocking scenes is available here, here and here.)
For, not only did hundreds of backers of former president Jair Bolsonaro storm the Brazilian Congress, they also invaded the presidential palace and the supreme court. That was a much bigger challenge to the authorities than happened in the American capital, Washington, DC on January 6, 2020.
Another point to note is the assault’s timing. Rather than do it on President Bolsonaro’s watch, when he, like President Trump, would have been obliged to uphold law and order and possibly even command the insurrectionists to go home, the Brazilian protestors waited until Mr Bolsonaro’s rival had taken charge of the great office of state.
They lay in wait for a whole week after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was inaugurated. They appear to have brooded for quite a while, having camped out in front of military buildings ever since their hero became a zero, ie since October 30, when Mr Bolsonaro lost the second round of elections.
And they appear to have had luck on their side. Brasilia’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, was suspended from his job for 90 days by Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes who said security flaws had facilitated the attack. And police, according to President Lula, “just let the protesters in” to the presidential grounds. He also blamed his predecessor, who he called a “genocidist” for encouraging the “fanatics” “via social media from Miami … Everybody knows there are various speeches of the ex-president encouraging this.” For the record, Mr Bolsonaro has tweeted that the events “are not within the rules” and repudiated, what he called, “baseless accusations” against him by Lula.
The point about January 6 Grande is that it was imitative up to a point, but then subtly refashioned the Trumpian model for maximum effect. Who knows where in the world the same playbook will next be used? Who knows what form it will take?
Here’s another thing that’s part of the Trump brand now –insurrection.