Images from the CNN Brasil television channel showed Bolsonaro supporters dressed in yellow and green with their arms crossed behind their backs, accompanied by police officers, coming down the ramp of the Planalto presidential palace one after the other. A bus with previously arrested demonstrators drove off in the direction of a police station.
Brazilian Senate Police said they arrested 30 people inside the Congress Chamber. Water cannons kept protesters in check in the government district on Sunday evening, but numerous Bolsonaro supporters remained near the buildings previously attacked.
The police initially seemed completely overwhelmed by the attacks by Bolsonaro supporters. Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, while in the southeastern city of Araraquara, devastated by 2022 floods on Sunday, placed security forces in the capital under federal government command in a bid to bring security in Brasília back under control.
Lula called the attack "unprecedented in Brazilian history". The donors behind the protests would pay for the "irresponsible and undemocratic acts". He called the attackers "fascist vandals".
His predecessor Bolsonaro left Brazil two days before the end of his term and has been in the US state of Florida ever since. Several politicians close to him, however, distanced themselves from the attackers.
The governor of the federal district of Brasília, Ibaneis Rocha, an ally of Bolsonaro, apologized in a video to President Lula for the attacks. He described those responsible as "real vandals" and "real terrorists". Valdemar Costa Neto, leader of Bolsonaro's Liberal Party (PL), spoke of a "sad day for the Brazilian nation".
The radical Bolsonaro supporters who attacked the government district do not recognize the election victory of left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has been in office since the beginning of the year.
They had breached police cordons and been herded into the convention building, according to videos circulating online networks. They smashed doors and windows and then poured into the building in large numbers. Bolsonaro supporters also occupied the roof of the congress building.
The damage to the Congress building, the Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court appeared to be extensive. The buildings are considered icons of modern architecture and contain numerous works of art.
The area near the Square of the Three Powers, where the Congress, the Presidential Palace Planalto and the Supreme Court are close together, had been cordoned off by the authorities. Bolsonaro's supporters were able to get through the barriers, however, and the security forces tried in vain to push them back with tear gas.
The incidents in Brasília caused outrage internationally. US President Joe Biden called the attack "outrageous" on Sunday (local time) during a visit to the US state of Texas. EU Council President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter that he condemned the attack on "Brazil's democratic institutions in the strongest terms".
German Development Secretary Niels Annen (SPD) tweeted in English that it was "incredible to see the fascists attacking the Brazilian capital". The international community will rally behind President Lula and the "democratic institutions of Brazil". French President Emmanuel Macron and the heads of state of Mexico and Argentina, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Alberto Fernandez, also expressed harsh words of condemnation.
Bolsonaro's supporters had already demonstrated in front of military barracks after his election defeat. They called for the army to intervene to prevent Lula's third term in office. The left-wing politician was head of state from 2003 to 2010. In the days after the second round of the elections, some Bolsonaro supporters blocked important roads in the country to protest the election results.
Lula, who has been the idol of the Latin American left for years, won the runoff election for the presidency on October 30 by a razor-thin margin over Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has not admitted his electoral defeat since then.