Brazil's Bolsonaro Rallies See Country Heading for Its Own January 6

Embattled Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's attempt to round up supporters in the country's political and economic capitals on Tuesday can be compared to the rallies of former President Donald Trump supporters that marched into Washington, D.C., on January 6, hours before the storming of the Capitol building, experts have told Newsweek.

Brazil's far-right leader addressed packed Independence Day rallies in Brasilia and São Paulo on Tuesday. Bolsonaro has called for support for his attacks on the country's Supreme Court that have raised fears around South America's largest democracy. Despite concerns of widespread unrest, by late afternoon, there were no reports of any serious violence.

Gabriel Brasil, political risk analyst for Brazil at Control Risks, told Newsweek that the rallies were "mostly anti-democratic in terms of their agendas and rhetoric."

Asked whether they draw comparisons to the prelude to the Capitol riots in the United States, Brasil said: "Absolutely. Since taking office, Bolsonaro has played by Trump's playbook in many ways, and I definitely can imagine he's expecting that his supporters reproduce some of the scenes we saw in the Capitol on 6 January—maybe with a more positive outcome for him."

Brasil acknowledged there were some differences between the two events in terms of context, but in essence, they both represent "the same spirit of the far right trying to maintain what is left of the anti-establishment rhetoric alive after a series of policymaking failures."

"When we look at the conversation in the far-right Whatsapp groups, we literally see some of the participants using the January 6 episode as a direct inspiration, so we can definitely compare the two events because there is even some causality there," he added.

But unlike Trump during the Capitol riots, who was in the final days of his presidency, Bolsonaro still has a year in office and one election campaign to run.

"Brazil is likely to face some increased instability in the coming months if additional events like today's continue to take place," Brasil said.

Brazil analyst Thomas Traumann agrees that the two events could be compared.

"Bolsonaro always had Trump as an mentor, but tries to surpass his idol and get a victory for his personal January 6," Traumann told Newsweek.

Asked whether Bolsonaro could be planning a coup with his most recent political moves, Brasil said that the rallies may not necessarily represent this. "President Jair Bolsonaro still lacks a few elements that he would need to escalate such a plan, notably political strength (on the back of his decreasing approval ratings). I see the rallies mostly as an attempt by the president to maintain his far right mobilized as a means to polarize the electoral race into securing him a place in the second round runoff in 2022."

Traumann believes that Bolsonaro could try and pull off a coup later down the line.

"President Bolsonaro made clear he will not accept anymore the rules for the next elections (already decided by Congress) and told the Supreme Court he would not accept the decisions he disagrees with," he said. "So from Wednesday on Brazil is at an impasse. If Congress and the Supreme Court give in to the Bolsonaro ultimatum we will be under an authoritarian regime. If they don't then he will try a coup."

Bolsanaro at rally in Sao Paulo
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro waves to supporters during a demonstration on Brazil's Independence Day at Paulista Avenue on September 07, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bolsonaro’s attempt to round up supporters in the political and economic capitals can be compared to the rallies of Donald Trump supporters on January 6, hours before the storming of Capitol building. Alexandre Schneider/Getty

Bolsonaro has been locked in a feud with the high court, and on August 14 called on the Senate to bring charges against two Supreme Court justices, warning Brazil could face a political "institutional rupture" if the charges were not brought.

One of the justices, Alexandre de Moraes, jailed the head of a party allied with the nationalist president as part of a probe on alleged online misinformation and anti-democratic threats. He also opened a probe on Bolsonaro for allegedly posting confidential material on social media to try and prove an allegation of election fraud. The other justice, Luis Roberto Barroso, has been a vociferous opponent to Bolsonaro's fraud claims over the upcoming election, and the president retorted by calling him a "son of a whore."

In his speech on Tuesday in Brasilia, Bolsonaro said: "Any decision from Mr. Alexandre de Moraes, this president will no longer comply with. The patience of our people has run out."

"For us, he no longer exists," he added.

In São Paulo, he said: "I want to tell those who want to make me unelectable in Brazil: Only God removes me from there."

"There are three options for me: be jailed, killed or victorious. I'm letting the scoundrels know: I'll never be imprisoned!"

The protests come as the country prepares for its next general elections in October 2022, and Bolsonaro is up for re-election.

Several polls have shown that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would defeat Bolsonaro in the election, possibly by a wide margin.