Brazil Gets a Democracy Test

from The Wall Street Journal,

Political leaders across the spectrum denounce riots in Brasilia.

Riot police beat back the mobs who stormed Brazil’s Congress and Supreme Court on Sunday, and the near-universal denunciation of the rioters is a welcome sign of democratic resilience. An equal test will be how well the country’s political leaders and courts handle the fallout. Government offices in Brasilia were largely empty, and President Luiz Inácio da Silva, known as Lula, was traveling. Police had mostly restored order by Sunday evening, but not before the vandals did considerable damage. Thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro have been demonstrating near military bases since Mr. da Silva was declared the narrow winner of the Oct. 30 runoff election. They want the military to stage a coup. The Sunday rioters seemed to be somewhat organized but with no clear idea of what they’d do if they controlled the offices. Brasilia’s security forces need to explain why the capital wasn’t better protected.

The good news is that military leaders have shown no inclination to intervene, and Lula’s inauguration on Jan. 1 was uneventful. The most important figures on the Brazilian right have accepted the election result and denounced the riot.

Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, the new governor of Brazil’s largest state, São Paulo—and a former minister of infrastructure for Mr. Bolsonaro—wrote on Twitter Sunday that “Demonstrations lose legitimacy and reason from the moment there is violence, depredation or curtailment of rights.” He added that “debate must be about ideas and the opposition must be responsible, pointing out directions,” and violence can’t be tolerated.

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