An already violent year in Brazil ended with the threat of a truck bomb near Brasilia’s international airport and domestic terrorism, as well as hope for a better future as former President Jair Bolsonaro fled the country and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office with an emotional and moving speech and receiving the presidential sash from the “Brazilian people” represented by a black woman and waste picker, alongside a metal worker, a teacher, a political activist, a cook, a young man with cerebral palsy, a 10-year-old Black child, and Cacique Raoni, one of the most important figures in the struggle for the rights of Indigenous peoples.
On Christmas eve, police defused explosives found in a fuel truck in the capital city, Brasília. One suspect, George Washington de Oliveira, was arrested with a large arsenal of guns and explosives. According to police, he has links to groups of protesters camping in front of the barracks in Brasília, and police believe he wasn’t acting alone.
Originally from the state of Pará, where he owns a shop, Oliveira rented a flat in Brasília where an arsenal of weapons and bombs valued at around 170,000 reais, or $31,405, was found. His aim was to “start chaos” and force a military intervention, he confessed. He also planned to distribute weapons to other Bolsonaro supporters.
Supporters of former President Bolsonaro continue to occupy areas around army barracks demanding a military coup and have on several occasions adopted terrorist tactics, going so far as to kill supporters of then President-elect Lula da Silva.
Against this backdrop, Lula was sworn in on New Year’s Day and a concert for an estimated 300,000 people was held by artists who support the new president.