Supporters of Brazil’s former rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s congress on Sunday, a week after the swearing-in of new leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Television images showed hundreds of people gathered on the lawn in front of the parliamentary complex in Brasília and mounting a ramp to its roof, alongside the building’s iconic white double domes.
Police responded by firing stun grenades but some demonstrators managed to gain entry into the premises, according to reports. Film footage displayed signs of property damage and trespassers walking around inside the parliament, which was not in session.
Videos and photos also appeared to show people inside the Supreme Court and presidential palace.
The incidents occurred after pro-Bolsonaro activists, who refuse to accept the far-right populist’s election defeat, descended on the capital on Sunday for demonstrations.
Following Lula’s narrow victory at the end of October, thousands of Bolsonaro backers have staged road blocks and protests outside army bases across the country, calling for a military coup.
They claim without evidence that the ballot was rigged and accuse top judges of political bias and censorship.
The scenes in Brasília were reminiscent of the US Capitol invasion two years ago by supporters of former president Donald Trump.
Prominent lawmakers and allies of Lula condemned the actions as an attack on democracy.
Rodrigo Pacheco, speaker of the senate, posted on social media: “I vehemently repudiate these anti-democratic acts, which must urgently face the rigour of the law.”
Gleisi Hoffman, president of Lula’s Workers’ party, accused authorities in charge of public security in the federal district, where Brasília is located, of irresponsibility.
“It is a crime announced against democracy, against the will of the polls and by other interests. [The] governor and his security secretary, bolsonarista, are responsible for what happens,” she wrote on Twitter.
Brazil’s minister of justice and public security, Flavio Dino, posted: “This absurd attempt to impose will by force will not prevail”.
Lula was outside the capital on Sunday, visiting a city in São Paulo state affected by recent flooding. The federal district’s military police could not immediately be reached for contact.
Bolsonaro defied tradition by not attending Lula’s inauguration last week, instead travelling to Florida.
Additional reporting by Carolina Ingizza