Crowds rally outside embassies to reject Brazil far-right coup attempt


“We must oppose any attempt at a coup in Brazil and all attempts to undo the democratic will expressed in last year’s election.”

By Sam Browse

Yesterday night, crowds rallied around the Brazilian embassy in London to show their solidarity with the Lula government and condemn the violence and coup attempts of far-right supporters of the defeated Presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro.

The demonstrations outside embassies across the globe follow a Sunday of far right violence in Brazil, as Bolsonaro supporters stormed the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidential palace in Brasilia, the country’s capital, in a manner reminiscent of Trump supporters in the US. The attacks themselves come after weeks of incitement to overturn the results of last year’s election, with far right agitators peddling conspiracy theories online and camping outside barracks in an attempt to persuade the military to remove Lula by force.

The show of solidarity was called by the Brazilian Worker’s Party (PT). A representative of the PT who spoke at the rally outside the embassy just off Trafalgar Square said ‘we need the support of allies across the world to defend and give support to democracy’. 

Jeremy Corbyn – a long-standing figure of support for progressive Latin American governments – addressed the assembled crowd, saying that Lula had won the election through ‘real mobilisation of desperately poor people who were determined to live in a decent and fair society.’

‘In the days before the election you could see that sense of expectation, of hope, and determination, but also of fear of what might happen.’

‘The attempted coup – and that’s what it was – has, for the moment, failed. But it’s a warning that any government anywhere in Latin America – indeed, anywhere in the world – that dares to speak of redistribution of power and wealth is going to have to face an awful lot of opposition. The only way to face that opposition is by popular support. That’s why we’re here today and why there are hundreds of thousands of people on the streets in Brazil supporting the election of President Lula.’

The demonstration was supported by the TUC with Mariela Kohon, the Congress’s senior international officer, representing them at the demonstration. She said ‘on behalf of the trade union movement we want to bring a message of solidarity’ and outlined how the TUC had been ‘campaigning against the Bolsonaro regime, against the far right, the racism, the homophobia, and the anti-trade union legislation’ in Brazil.

The TUC’s statement of solidarity says it ‘condemns the mass attack on the Brazilian capital by a far right mob’ and that ‘Lula’s victory has restored hope to millions of Brazilians whose rights and dignity has been assailed by the extreme policies and rhetoric of Bolsonaro and his far right allies. The repudiation of Bolsonaro at the ballot box was a powerful blow against the politics of hate and division, and the democratic principles that delivered it must be defended.’

While this coup attempt has been driven back, events in Peru demonstrate the continent-wide backlash against the recent electoral advance of the left. The country’s President, Pedro Castillo, has been driven out of office and arrested in a parliamentary coup. There is now severe repression of those – many of whom are indigenous Peruvians – who refuse to recognise the undemocratically installed president, Dina Boluarte, and who are calling for an election. 

Brazil’s own recent history of “lawfare” used to remove Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, from office, shows the importance of standing with those in Latin America facing destabilisation from the supporters of neoliberalism. We must oppose any attempt at a coup in Brazil and all attempts to undo the democratic will expressed in last year’s election. The left must support those fighting for socialism in Latin America and for a continent free of neoliberalism, US-led interference, or dominance by an elite few.

Featured image: Jeremy Corbyn addresses the demonstration for democracy outside the Brazilian Embassy in London on December 10th, 2023. Photo credit: Sam Browse/Labour Outlook

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