Pax Global Media
The Government of Canada has updated its travel advice for Brazil, telling travellers to “exercise a high degree of caution” due to demonstrations in Brasilia, where protestors on Sunday (Jan. 8) stormed Brazil’s government offices.
Ottawa is warning travellers in the region of high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and “other violence in urban areas,” and to avoid the Brazilian National Congress, Plaza of the Three Powers, Rodoviaria and other government buildings.
“Demonstrations take place regularly,” reads Canada's alert. “Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.”
The update comes after supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, refusing to accept his election defeat, stormed Congress a week after the inauguration of leftist rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
As reported by the Associated Press, thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades yesterday, climbed on roofs, smashed windows and entered all three buildings, which were believed to be mostly vacant over the weekend.
Protestors, calling for a military intervention to either restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power or oust Lula from the presidency, clashed with security officials before control of the buildings on Brasilia’s Three Powers Square was reestablished hours later, reports say.
Stay away, Ottawa says
Protests can cause delays on main roads, including to airports, such as to the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, the Canadian government advised on its website.
“Demonstrations tend to increase in frequency and intensity during major events that attract foreign visitors.”
Ottawa is advising Canadians to avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
At a news conference from Sao Paulo state, President Lula accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the uprising by those he called “fascist fanatics,” and he read a signed decree for the government to take control of security in the federal district.
“There is no precedent for what they did and these people need to be punished,” Lula told reporters.
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