Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Photo: Eraldo Peres / dpa
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has sharply condemned the storming of Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in the capital Brasília by supporters of far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro.
The left-wing head of state, who was in the south-eastern city of Araraquara on Sunday, spoke of an attack by "fascist vandals".
Lula signed a decree giving federal authorities special powers to restore security in Brasília.
"We will find out who these vandals are and they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law," he said.
Security forces have now arrested the first suspects.
Brazilian television on Sunday showed police officers leading several men and women out of Congress with their hands tied behind their backs.
Bolsonaro's party is distancing itself from its radical supporters
The party of former head of state Bolsonaro has also condemned the attack on government buildings in the capital.
»Today is a sad day for the Brazilian nation.
We cannot agree to the storming of the National Congress," Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL) leader Valdemar Costa Neto said in a video released on Sunday.
“All organized demonstrations are legitimate.
But chaos has never been a principle of our nation.
We strongly condemn this behavior.
The law must be enforced to strengthen our democracy.«
Hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters had previously stormed the central places of Brazilian democracy in the capital Brasília.
They broke through police cordons and got inside the Congress building, as shown in videos circulating on online networks.
They smashed doors and windows and then poured into the building in large numbers.
They also stormed the nearby Planalto Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court.
US government condemns storming of government district
The radical Bolsonaro supporters do not recognize the election victory of left-wing President Lula, who has been in office since the beginning of the year.
The images bring back memories of the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.
Congress met there to formally confirm Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.
Trump had previously incited his supporters in a speech that he had been deprived of a victory by massive election fraud.
Five people died as a result of the riots.
The US government was also among the first to condemn the attack by radical Bolsonaro supporters.
"The United States condemns any attempt to undermine democracy in Brazil," US President Joe Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
President Biden is monitoring the situation closely.
"Our support for Brazil's democratic institutions is unwavering," Sullivan said.
Democracy in Brazil will not be shaken by violence.