On Sunday, fomer Brazilian Preident Jair Bolsonaro supporters occupied Brazil’s National Congress, Supreme Court, and presidental palace, objecting to the election results just over a week after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly refrenced as “Lula”, was sworn into office. Bolsonaro represents the “right-wing” bloc, his supporters appear in Brazil’s national colors of blue and yellow, while Lula is from the socialist party using the color red to represent themselves.
Bolsonaro supporters have stormed the National Congress building in Brasilia against Lula's government.
Protestors hold a sign demanding, “we want the source code” pertaining to fortified elections. pic.twitter.com/QtC24mpJRd
— Merissa Hansen🇺🇸 (@merissahansen17) January 8, 2023
Anti-Lula protesters are now also storming the presidential palace.
They are also in control of the buildings of Congress and the Supreme Court.
Lula is not in Brasilia, but in São Paulo.
The police haven’t intervened so far. pic.twitter.com/jdfqXOQWHv
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) January 8, 2023
Widespread protests were seen across the country in the aftermath of the two rounds of the October elections. In the second round, Lula received 50.90% of the votes to Bolsonaro’s 49.10%, the closest presidential election result in Brazil’s history. Lula received the highest amount of votes recorded for a candidate in a Brazilian presidential election.
Questions circulated about if Bolsonaro’s incumbent government would enact the armed forces to ressist a transfer of power, but this did not happen. Bolonaro agreed to a peaceful transition of power, without ever conceding the election or signaling that the results were accepted.
🔴BRAZIL :#VIDEO FIRE AND CHAOS AT CEASA, -MAIN FOOD DISTRIBUTION CENTER-, IN RÍO DE JANEIRO!
— loveworld (@LoveWorld_Peopl) October 31, 2022
BREAKING: The Brazilian people are taking to the streets demanding that the armed forces be activated because they do not accept the results of the election.
A mega demonstration is scheduled for 11.02.22 in front of the Brazilian army barracks 🚨 🚨 🚨
🔊sound …🧐 pic.twitter.com/HRqUX3ha9G
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) November 1, 2022
In the wake of Sunday’s coup, a trending topic on Twitter read: #BolonsaroIsInFlorida
But, was he? Indeed, the New York Times reported that he has been in Orlando since late December.
Facing various investigations from his time in office, Mr. Bolsonaro flew to Florida in late December with plans to stay for at least a month. He has been in Orlando, living in a rented house owned by a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter a few miles from Disney World.
In fact, photos of Bolsonaro have circulated on social media. Slate published a picture of Bolsonaro dining at a KFC.
I will pay a large commission for a painting of this photograph of Brazil's disgraced ex-president Jair Bolsonaro eating KFC in Orlando, Florida on the day of Lula's inauguration pic.twitter.com/OFzGNWrSai
— David Adler (@davidrkadler) January 2, 2023
A video of Bolsonaro shopping at a Publix supermarket was uploaded to Twitter on Thursday.
Jair Bolsonaro wandering around a Publix. pic.twitter.com/PKX3EJ1QgT
— Jonathan L. Krohn (@JonathanLKrohn) January 5, 2023
Bolsonaro encouraged his supporters to remain peaceful at the time he departed Brazil in December. Lula has promised to find and prosecute the rioters responsible for Sunday’s events and has invoked the military to remove the occupiers.
Lula of Brazil has just said:
The violent protesters who stormed Congress will be found and punished.
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) January 8, 2023
While political instability continues to plague Brazil, what we know is that Bolsonaro is living a relatively normal life in Florida.