Soldiers of the Brazilian Army prepare for the inauguration ceremony of Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Soldiers of the Brazilian Army prepare for the inauguration ceremony of Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on December 27, 2022.

(Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images)

Brazil Ramps Up Security for Lula Inauguration Amid Concerns Over Right-Wing 'Terrorists'

"The fight against terrorists and rioters will be intensified," said Brazil's incoming justice minister. "Democracy has won and will win."

With Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva set to be inaugurated on Sunday, the country's authorities are ramping up security measures amid fears that supporters of defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro will attempt to cause chaos and possibly launch a violent attack on the ceremony.

Such concerns grew over the weekend after Brazil's capital police arrested a man who planted a bomb near Brasilia's airport, close to where Lula was staying.

"On December 24, Brasilia police said they had foiled a bomb plot, arresting a man with ties to a group of pro-Bolsonaro election deniers camped outside the army headquarters, who have been urging the military to overturn Lula's victory," Reutersreported Tuesday. "George Washington Sousa, who confessed to making the device and plotting with other camp-dwellers to detonate it, said he had hoped that the bomb would 'provoke a military intervention... to prevent the installation of communism in Brazil.'"

A day after Sousa's arrest, Brazil's incoming justice minister took to Twitter to assure the public that efforts are underway to guarantee the inauguration is peaceful.

"All procedures will be reassessed, with a view to strengthening security," Flávio Dino tweeted. "And the fight against terrorists and rioters will be intensified. Democracy has won and will win."

To secure the inauguration and head off any potential violence, "100% of the police forces" of Brasilia will be mobilized to "ensure the safety not only of the president, but also of foreign delegations and the public," Dino told reporters Tuesday.

Bolsonaro spent the months leading up to Brazil's October presidential election spreading lies about voter fraud and ginning up his right-wing supporters, who responded to the president's loss with fury and violence. Earlier this month, Bolsonaro loyalists attempted to invade Brasilia's police headquarters, an incident that drew comparisons to the January 6, 2021 insurrection in the United States.

While he has allowed the transition process to move forward, Bolsonaro has yet to publicly admit his defeat to Lula. In late November, Bolsonaro formally contested his loss—a challenge that Brazil's electoral court swiftly rejected.

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