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Facial Recognition Systems Vandalized and Guns Stolen in Brazilian Riots

The riots, which included attacks on Brazil’s Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, are the worst attack on Brazil's state infrastructure since the 1980s.

In response to riots in Brazil’s capital by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday, Brazilian Federal Police have set up a crisis office to coordinate actions and identify the perpetrators of attacks on federal agencies.

Federal Police tactical groups were mobilized from several states in the country to support the security forces in Brasilia. Teams have already started judicial police actions, as well as investigations at the Planalto Palace, National Congress and Federal Supreme Court to identify those responsible for acts of vandalism, including facial identification systems. There have also been reports of gun theft.

The Federal Police Bombs and Explosives Group has been mobilized and the security of the President of the Republic will be reinforced, including routes and installations.

The riots, which included attacks on Brazil’s Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, are the worst attack on Brazil’s state infrastructure since the 1980s. In December, Bolsonaro supporters attempted to invade the Federal Police headquarters in Brasilia, on the day the electoral defeat was certified.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office from Bolsonaro on January 1 after an election win in October said those responsible would be brought to justice. 

Bolsonaro is currently in Florida and has condemned the violence on twitter, dismissing allegations that he stoked the violence by repeatedly questioning the legitimacy of the recent elections.

U.S. President Joe Biden has also taken to twitter to “condemn the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power.” Biden added that Brazil’s democratic institutions have the full support of the Biden/Harris administration and said the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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