"Freedom fighters" is what Steve Bannon, the far-right propagandist and former top aide to Donald Trump, called the supporters of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil who on Sunday launched a violent assault on the nation's government offices in the capital of Brasilia.
The comment, made on the social media platform Gettr, was attached to a video taken inside the national Congress where backers of the ousted Bolsonaro—defeated in last year's presidential election by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—broke through the front glass doors and windows as they ransacked the Congress, presidential offices, and the Supreme Court.
For months, Bannon has used his megaphone in his "War Room" podcast to promote Brazilian far-right conspiracy theories that the election was fraudulent and, according to reports, directly advised Bolonsaro's inner circle, including the former president's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a member of Congress.
"These fascists modeling themselves after Trump’s Jan. 6 rioters must end up in the same place: prison."
According to reporting in November by the Washington Post:
Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president's third son, was often the glue in relationships between the two worlds. He has made multiple trips to Mar-a-Lago during his father's tenure and was in Washington during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. He helped bring the Conservative Political Action Conference to Brazil.
Some insiders say the Brazilian movement is bigger than any one leader. "What's happening in Brazil is a world event," Bannon told The Post. "The people are saying they've been grossly disenfranchised. [The movement] has moved beyond the Bolsonaros in the way that in the U.S. it has moved beyond Trump."
Raffi Cavoukian, a folk musician and social justice activist, said on Twitter that while the insurrectionist effort in Brazil on Sunday was a "shocker," the fact that Bannon helped stoke it and was embracing it from the U.S. was "both horrid and not surprising."
"Unlike slow [Department of Justice in the U.S.]," said Cavoukian, "may President Lula's DOJ arrest the guilty and prosecute."
\u201cFar-right American "Stop the Steal" operatives have been in Brazil stoking this kind of violent unrest for months. People allied with Steve Bannon. Like Matthew Tyrmand, who functions as something of an international fascism supereconnector.\u201d— Luke O'Brien (@Luke O'Brien) 1673208038
Bannon was not alone in his show of support for Sunday's assault. As Mother Jones reports:
Another MAGA figure involved in the January 6 attack also embraced their efforts on Sunday. Ali Alexander, the “Stop the Steal” organizer who claimed to have “schemed up,” along with three members of Congress, the plan to assemble Trump backers in Washington to pressure lawmakers not to certify Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, declared on social media, “I do NOT denounce unannounced impromptu Capitol tours by the people.” He also urged the Brazilian rioters to “do whatever is necessary!”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6. attack in the U.S., also called for the prosecution of those involved in Sunday's attack in Brasilia:
\u201cDemocracies of the world must act fast to make clear there will be no support for right-wing insurrectionists storming the Brazilian Congress. These fascists modeling themselves after Trump\u2019s Jan. 6 rioters must end up in the same place: prison.\u201d— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@Rep. Jamie Raskin) 1673207418
It's unclear how far the accountability will go. While hundreds were arrested on Sunday during and in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the government buildings, it was reported Monday that Brazilian police had raided a nearby camp used by the Bolsonaro supporters.
Meanwhile, with Jair Bolsonaro still in Florida—having left his home country just before the transfer of power on Jan. 1—progressive U.S. lawmakers are calling for the disgraced former Brazilian president to be sent packing.
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Jon Queally.