by Lauren Frank ‘23
Two years have passed since the January 6 insurrection, and unfortunately identical events have unfolded elsewhere. On January 8, hundreds of violent, right-wing Brazilian protestors who support President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress and other government buildings, in retaliation against opposing presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s victory. Many parallels are seen between the events in the U.S and those of Brazil, especially the time and preparation that went into organizing the attacks. The sitting presidents of both countries continuously spread election fraud claims and vocalized their refusal to accept the election results, ultimately encouraging supporters to launch their violent coup.
The U.S. laid the groundwork for the events in Brazil by normalizing corrupt-like behavior among its leaders. Donald Trump repeatedly spread outrageous claims and conspiracies, prompting violence from his supporters. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that Bolsonaro’s supporters were wrapped up in a similar frenzy and wanted to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Additionally, social media allowed these leaders to grow their support and promote false narratives quicker than ever before and to a larger audience. By giving these leaders a platform to speak to their supporters, it had a more direct and immediate influence in disrupting the peaceful transfer of power, and thus inciting a riot.