January 8, 2023 – The acts of violence and vandalism that took place in Brasilia on January 8, 2023, constitute an abhorrent attack on Brazil’s democratic institutions by people who are seeking to deny the right of Brazilians to vote for and elect the leaders of their choice, including by urging military intervention, Human Rights Watch said today.
The following statement can be attributed to Tamara Taraciuk Broner, acting director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas Division:
“This attack is the culmination of a years-long campaign by former president Jair Bolsonaro and his allies to undermine democratic principles and spread baseless claims of electoral fraud.
The authorities have a responsibility to provide security to Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace, as well as protect the media and others. Local authorities failed to take adequate measures to protect key federal buildings, particularly considering previous violent incidents by Bolsonaro supporters, including an attack on the headquarters of the federal police on December 12, the day when electoral authorities officially certified the victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the October presidential elections.
Police and the attorney general office need to investigate not just those who committed acts of violence, but those who incited and financed them. Those responsible for this extremely serious attack on Brazil’s democratic institutions should be held accountable.”