Brazil Congress: Big Pro-democracy Rallies Held To Condemn Rioters

Brazil Congress: Big Pro-democracy Rallies Held To Condemn Rioters

Tens of thousands of people in Brazil have held pro-democracy rallies, in an angry response to the storming of Congress by ex-President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters.

In the country’s largest city of São Paulo, crowds chanted that Mr Bolsonaro must go to prison.

About 1,500 people have been held over Sunday’s riots in the capital Brasília.

They came a week after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in after October’s election that divided Brazil.

On Monday evening, the 77-year-old new leader – widely known as Lula – visited the damaged buildings of Congress, the presidential palace and Supreme Court together with the country’s governors, condemning the “terrorist acts” and vowing to punish the perpetrators.

Mr Bolsonaro, 67, has not admitted defeat in the tightly-fought election, and flew to the US before the handover on 1 January. On Monday, he was admitted to hospital in Florida with abdominal pain.

On Monday, street rallies were held in a number of cities and towns.

The turnout at São Paulo’s demonstration was impressive, the BBC’s Katy Watson reports from the city. A part of Paulista Avenue, Brazil’s most famous street, was blocked off as crowds filled the area, singing, dancing and chanting for justice.

Many came dressed in red, the colours of Lula’s Workers’ Party; others waved placards saying “No amnesty for the coup mongers” and called for those responsible to be punished. There were also chants of “Prison for Bolsonaro”.

“I don’t agree with what happened in Brasília – it was a nightmare. I don’t agree with those who believe that with democracy you can use your power to destroy democracy,” Gabriel, who only gave his first name, told the BBC.

“I want to show to the world and our country that even though there are thousands of people who believe the elections weren’t valid, here in Brazil, we have a gigantic number of people who believe we can trust our government, we can trust in our democracy,” he said.

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