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Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazilian Congress

What we covered here

  • Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva blamed police negligence and "explicit connivance" for the attacks on government buildings in Brasilia this weekend.
  • Hundreds of supporters of former leader Jair Bolsonaro had stormed the buildings to protest against the new president's administration.
  • Police made more than 1,000 arrests and Lula said officials were investigating those who financed the "coup acts."
  • Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for the US ahead of Lula's inauguration on Jan. 1, was hospitalized Monday in Florida for treatment related to a knife attack in 2018.
Our live coverage has ended. Follow the latest Brazil news here or read through the updates below. 
8:20 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Former Brazilian president posts photo of himself on hospital bed in Florida

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted a photo of himself on a hospital bed in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, saying it was related to injuries from a 2018 knife attack during a political rally.

“After being stabbed in Juiz de Fora/MG, I underwent 5 surgeries,” Bolsonaro tweeted. “Since the last one, for 2x I had adhesions that led me to other medical procedures.”

He added that he was admitted to the hospital after suffering “new adherence.”

Bolsonaro left Brazil for the US on Dec. 30, 2022 — just two days before Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's inauguration — and was admitted into the Florida hospital after suffering from abdominal “discomfort,” according to an Instagram post from his wife Michelle Bolsonaro.  

8:15 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Brazilian police found 5 hand grenades in Supreme Court and Congress, senator says

Police inspect the Planalto palace in Brasilia on January 8. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil police found five hand grenades on premises of the Supreme Court and Congress after the Sunday attacks on government buildings in Brasilia, Brazilian Sen. Randolfe Rodrigues told CNN Brasil on Monday.

Rodrigues, who will be leading President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government in Congress, said three of the grenades were found in the Supreme Court and two in Congress.

In a tweet that he later deleted, the senator described the individuals behind the attacks as “terrorists” who wanted to destroy the Supreme Court, the Presidential Palace and Congress. 
In a separate tweet, he called on security forces to identify all those who were involved in the attacks on government buildings.
About 1,500 people have been arrested so far, following the chaos Sunday in Brazil's capital, according to the country’s Justice Minister Flavio Dino.
8:22 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

President blames negligence and "explicit connivance" by police for attacks on government buildings

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva criticized police conduct in the lead-up to and during the attacks on government buildings in Brasilia this weekend.

"The Brasilia police neglected [the attack threat], Brasilia's intelligence neglected it,�� Lula said during a meeting with governors on Monday. “It is easy to see in the footage the police officers talking to the attackers. There was an explicit connivance of the police with the demonstrators.”

Lula also described the attacks on government buildings as “coup acts,” and vowed to find out who financed them.

Meanwhile, the government has created an email address to allow the public to provide tips, according to Justice Minister Flavio Dino. At least 13,000 e-mails have been received so far, he said at a news conference Monday. 

The Federal Police has also received reinforcements from 10 states to protect ministries and government buildings, the justice minister added.

7:48 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Justice minister: Bolsonaro bears "political responsibility" for attack — but no legal grounds for probe now

Brazil's Justice Minister Flávio Dino speaks during a press conference at the Justice Palace in Brasilia on January 9. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil's Justice Minister Flávio Dino said former President Jair Bolsonaro bears "political responsibility" for Sunday's attacks on government institutions in the country’s capital Brasília, but added there were no legal grounds to investigate him in connection with the riots at this time.

"Words have power and those words turned into hate, which turned into destruction," Dino said during a news conference on Monday. "It is a political responsibility because there are political leaders who are responsible for the hate speech and the destruction that we saw yesterday at the buildings of the three branches of powers, aiming at a coup d'état.” 

The minister said there are "no elements to advance in a sphere of legal responsibility" yet against Bolsonaro. 

"But in a political analysis, the entire Brazilian nation knows that in all these years in presidency, Bolsonaro and everyone who follows him has in recent years uttered frequent [verbal] attacks against the Supreme Court,” he said.

Bolsonaro left Brazil for the US on Dec. 30, 2022 — just two days before President Lula’s inauguration — and is currently in a Florida hospital suffering from abdominal “discomfort,” according to his wife Michelle Bolsonaro in an Instagram post.  

Bolsonaro routinely attacked and discredited Brazil’s electoral system, the country’s Supreme Court, and left-wing voters and leadership during the course of his presidency. He also never explicitly conceded to Lula’s election win last October.

The former president did, however, take to Twitter on Sunday to criticize the attacks on government buildings and insist he had always acted within the bounds of the Constitution.

"Peaceful demonstrations, respecting the law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule,” Bolsonaro said.

He continued, saying “Throughout my mandate, I have always been acting according to the Constitution, respecting and defending the laws, democracy, transparency and our sacred freedom.”

“Furthermore, I repudiate the accusations, without evidence, attributed to me by the current chief executive of Brazil," the former president said.

6:06 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Biden spoke with Brazil's President Lula following attack on government buildings

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Monday following an attack on government buildings in Brazil.

During the call, Biden reiterated that Lula won the most recent Brazilian presidential election, according to a readout. He also invited the Brazilian president to Washington, DC, which Lula accepted and will visit "in “early February for in-depth consultations on a wide-ranging shared agenda.”

“President Biden conveyed the unwavering support of the United States for Brazil’s democracy and for the free will of the Brazilian people as expressed in Brazil’s recent presidential election, which President Lula won,” said the readout, provided by the White House. “President Biden condemned the violence and the attack on democratic institutions and on the peaceful transfer of power.”

Biden and Lula, “pledged to work closely together on the issues confronting the United States and Brazil, including climate change, economic development, and peace and security.”

In a tweet on his official account, Lula thanked Biden for his “concern and solidarity and his willingness to maintain a permanent dialogue between our countries to strengthen democracy.”
5:00 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

In pictures: Aftermath of Bolsonaro supporters storming Brazilian Congress

Brazilian authorities, security and staff worked Monday to cleanup and assess the damage left behind after hundreds of supporters of former leader Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings to protest against his successor and rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Here are some photos of the aftermath:

A member of the Federal Police forensics team inspects the damage at the Planalto Palace caused by supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on January 8. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Planalto Presidential Palace security members inspect offices destroyed the day after supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the building. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Damaged portraits labeled with the names of Brazilian politicians José Sarney and Renan Calheiros, both former presidents of the Senate, are seen at the Brazilian National Congress following a riot the previous day. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Workers arrive to assess the damage at the congress building on Monday. (Mateus Bonomi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro leave their encampment outside army headquarters as military police stand watch in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Monday. (Andre Penner/AP)

A supporter of former Brazilian President Bolsonaro cries during the eviction of a camp of Bolsonaro supporters in Brasilia, Brazil, on January 9. (Isabella Finholdt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

4:55 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Kamala Harris condemns Brasilia attack after swearing in new US ambassador

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with members of the press after ceremonially swearing in Elizabeth Frawley Bagley as ambassador to Brazil on January 9. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday condemned the “obvious and clear attack on a democratic process" in Brazil after hundreds of supporters of the country’s former leader Jair Bolsonaro stormed the seats of power in the capital Brasilia.

“Let's be clear, this was an obvious and clear attack on a democratic process and we condemn it of course,” Harris said to reporters in her ceremonial office, after swearing in the US’ newest ambassador to Brazil Elizabeth Frawley Bagley. 

“I will also say that, as I've said to the ambassador, Ambassador Bagley, that I'm very confident in her ability to represent the United States and to extend to President Lula all that we mean in terms of the work that we will do together as allies on some of the most important issues facing our world. So we're very much looking forward to her leadership and to working with President Lula,” she added. 

Harris ignored a question on whether Bolsonaro should be removed from the US as he currently remains in Florida.

Vice President Kamala Harris ceremonially swears in Elizabeth Frawley Bagley as ambassador to Brazil on Monday. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

3:26 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

US State Department will not confirm Bolsonaro's visa type 

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price would not confirm that former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had entered the United States on an A1 visa — which is granted to heads of state and only valid while they are in that position.

Price added that if such a visa holder “is no longer engaged in official business on behalf of their government, it is incumbent on that visa holder to depart the US or to request a change to another immigration status within 30 days.”

He said that request has to be made to the Department of Homeland Security, adding that “if an individual has no basis on which to be in the United States, an individual is subject to removal by the Department of Homeland Security.”

“I am of course, not going to comment on the visa records of any individual, individual visa records, as you know, are confidential, and we wouldn't speak to the status of any particular individual,” Price said at a State Department briefing Monday.

3:54 p.m. ET, January 9, 2023

Former president Jair Bolsonaro admitted to hospital, wife says

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro departs after speaking during a press conference in Brazil on November 1. (Arthur Menescal/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to a hospital on Monday, his wife said in a post on her official Instagram account.

Bolsonaro was admitted for abdominal "discomfort" related to injuries from a 2018 knife attack during a political rally, Michelle Bolsonaro said. The former president has been hospitalized several times over the years due to the effects of his knife injury.
It comes after hundreds of supporters of Bolsonaro stormed the seats of power in the capital Brasilia, trashing offices and drawing condemnation from the government and the international community Sunday.

The breaches happened a week after the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who returned to power after a 12-year hiatus following a victory over Bolsonaro in a run-off election at the end of October.

An ally of the former president tells CNN Brasil that Bolsonaro had been feeling discomfort on Sunday night and that he is hospitalized in the Orlando area where he has been visiting for over a week.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Bolsonaro departed Brazil on Dec. 30.