CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

Filter
Filters Active
Crisis Watch Filter
Clear Filters

January 2023

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Days after Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s inauguration as president, Pro-Bolsonaro protesters stormed govt buildings, demanding military coup.

Rioters stormed govt buildings in attempt to reinstate Bolsonaro as president. Days after President Lula 1 Jan took office, supporters of former President Bolsonaro 8 Jan invaded presidential palace, Congress, and Supreme Court in capital Brasília, demanding military coup to reinstate Bolsonaro as president; they stole weaponry from vaults and caused millions of dollars in damage, including by smashing windows and furniture and destroying works of art. Lula same day declared state of emergency in Federal District, where Brasilia is located, until 31 Jan. Bolsonaro 9 Jan denied any involvement, claiming to have always acted lawfully.

Authorities arrested scores for attempted coup, evidence of army role in riots emerged. Police arrested over 1,500 protesters, 39 of whom were indicted by federal prosecutors on 16 Jan for crimes including attempted coup d’état. Supreme Court head Alexandre de Moraes 8 Jan suspended pro-Bolsonaro governor of Federal District Ibaneis Rocha for 90 days due to lack of action to contain protesters; Rocha 13 Jan responded, claiming army prevented police from removing pro-Bolsonaro protesters’ encampment in Brasília before riots. Police 10 Jan arrested former Commander of Federal District’s military police Colonel Fábio Augusto Vieira due to security lapses during riots; Vieira 12 Jan said army had twice blocked police from clearing encampment. Supreme Court 13 Jan approved request to investigate Bolsonaro’s role in protests. Authorities 14 Jan arrested Anderson Torres, Brasília’s security secretary and former minister of justice under Bolsonaro, on charges of “omission”; upon searching his home, they found draft decree that would allow electoral authorities to interfere with past presidential election results and annul Lula’s win. Lula 21 Jan fired army General Julio Cesar de Arruda for not following govt orders to dismantle pro-Bolsonaro tent. Police 27 Jan raided home of Leonardo Rodrigues de Jesus, Bolsonaro’s nephew, currently under investigation for role in riots.

November 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

President Bolsonaro’s attempt to challenge election result failed amid dwindling protests.

Protests challenging President Bolsonaro’s electoral defeat slowly lost momentum. Following Oct presidential election in which Bolsonaro narrowly lost to Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, unrest early Nov continued. Notably, footage showed Federal Highway Police agents 1 Nov helping pro-Bolsonaro protesters block highway in São Paulo state. Several blockades resulted in violence, including when car 2 Nov ran into barricade, also in São Paulo state, injuring at least 16 people. Bolsonaro same day called on protesters to lift blockades, while Supreme Court 11 Nov ordered law enforcement to clear all roads. While some highways remained blocked until 18 Nov, all roads eventually cleared by late Nov as protests dwindled.

Bolsonaro contested results, but court rejected request. Amid some lingering protests, Bolsonaro – who had not conceded defeat – and his Liberal Party 22 Nov filed petition formally contesting results, despite 1 Nov saying he would respect constitution; Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes next day rejected challenge.

October 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Presidential elections took place largely peacefully, paving way for Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s victory in tight run-off against President Bolsonaro.

Left-wing candidate Lula won presidential election in tight electoral race. In second round of presidential elections held 30 Oct, former President Lula narrowly defeated incumbent President Bolsonaro with 50.9% of votes against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%, becoming latest in wave of left-wing electoral victories across Latin America. In speech delivered 30 Oct, Lula pledged to unite divided country, saying he “will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me”. Foreign leaders, including U.S. President Biden and Russian President Putin, congratulated him.

Bolsonaro had yet to concede defeat by end of Oct, but appeared unlikely to challenge vote. Following months-long criticism over reliability of electronic ballot systems and threats he would contest result, Bolsonaro remained silent following vote, suggesting he will allow transition process to go ahead. By end of month, however, he had not conceded defeat, in contrast to most of his closest allies. Meanwhile, amid concerns of heightened risk of post-electoral violence, few incidents took place. Nonetheless, dozens of trucks drivers began blocking highways and demanding coup after polls closed, ongoing at end of month; unknown assailants 31 Oct killed man celebrating Lula’s victory.

Calm largely prevailed after first round of voting despite small-scale incidents. Following first round of elections held 4 Oct, some incidents took place ahead of final vote amid high tensions. Notably, Bolsonaro supporter was stabbed to death in Itanhaém, São Paulo state, 6 Oct; 29 Oct bolsonarista congresswoman chased Lula supporter with gun. Federal Highway Police, organisation closely allied with Bolsonaro, 30 Oct set up hundreds of roadblocks to delay voters in north east and other centres of support for Lula, allegedly affecting thousands of voters. Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes same day ordered highway police chief to immediately cease operations.

September 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

In tense run-up to general election, Electoral Court set boundaries for military involvement, and Supreme Court suspended relaxations on gun control.

Electoral Court denied military parallel vote count. Amid President Bolsonaro’s persistent efforts to discredit electronic voting system and involve military in vote count for 2 Oct general election, Supreme Electoral Court 12 Sept announced military would not be granted real-time access to voting data in order to conduct parallel count. However, Court 17 Sept authorised deployment of military personnel for logistical support in eleven states where criminal groups operate and where risk of electoral violence is higher. Meanwhile, as former left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva widened lead over Bolsonaro in polls, president 7 Sept rallied tens of thousands of supporters across country in show of strength, coinciding with military parades marking country’s bicentennial anniversary of independence.

Fears of electoral violence prompted Supreme Court to strengthen gun control. Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin 5 Sept suspended several decrees issued by Bolsonaro allowing citizens to buy more arms with less restrictions and govt oversight; Fachin claimed “risk of political violence” around elections rendered decision “extremely and exceptionally urgent”. In response, son of president and Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro 5 Sept called on gun owners to volunteer for his father’s election campaign by distributing campaign materials.

August 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Supreme Electoral Court resisted continued military interest in electoral process as public polarisation over armed forces grew. Ahead of presidential elections set for Oct, concerns grew regarding unlawful intervention of military in electoral process. Superior Electoral Court 2-19 Aug granted military permission to inspect source code for electronic voting machines to be used for elections, following Defence Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira’s request 1 Aug. However, court 8 Aug declined Nogueira’s request, made in July, to access 2014 and 2018 election data, arguing military has no mandate to analyse past elections. Court same day announced army’s Col Ricardo Sant’anna would be barred from participating in group responsible for overseeing elections, accusing him of “spreading false information in order to discredit the Brazilian electoral system”. After confrontation with Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Bolsonaro 10 Aug halted plans to combine traditional Sept 7 Independence Day military parade with electoral rally organised by supporters in Copacabana neighbourhood. Proposed joint event polarised public; notably, social network monitoring initiative Democracia Digital 10 Aug said right-wing Telegram groups and channels in Jan-July 2022 saw 695% increase in messages with content including calls for military intervention and demands to arrest Supreme Court justices compared to same period in 2021. Meanwhile, University of São Paulo Law School 11 Aug presented “Letter to Brazilians in defence of the Democratic Rule of Law” at launch event; letter, published late July, raised concerns about “immense danger to democratic normality” amid “insinuations of contempt for the results of the elections”, gathered over 1.1mn signatures.

July 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

President Bolsonaro remained at odds with courts over electronic ballot system ahead of October presidential election, and authorities charged three individuals with murder for June killing of journalist and Indigenous expert in Amazon rainforest. Bolsonaro 24 July officially launched re-election bid amid ongoing efforts to discredit country’s electronic voting system. Notably, Defence Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira 11 July requested that Superior Electoral Tribunal provide all data from electronic ballot boxes of 2014 and 2018 elections; Bolsonaro has repeatedly claimed both elections were rigged. Nogueira during Senate hearing 14 July proposed that election have parallel voting system based on paper ballots. Bolsonaro 18 July accused Supreme Court Justices Alexandre de Moraes, Edson Fachin and Luís Roberto Barroso of provoking instability and undermining his candidacy. In briefing to diplomats, Bolsonaro same day reiterated unreliability of electronic voting system and pressed Superior Electoral Tribunal to address armed forces’ demands for changes to system. U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin 26 July emphasised need for military and security forces to remain “under firm civilian control” during defence gathering of the Americas in Brazil; Nogueira next day assured Austin that military was “focused on providing security” for “safe, secure and transparent” election. Military’s proximity to Bolsonaro hurt its public image, with 29% negative rating according to A Cara de Democracia survey data published 4 July; in 2018, this number was 21%. Meanwhile, authorities around 22 July charged three men with “aggravated double homicide and concealment of a corpse” following disappearance last month of Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips, whose research shone spotlight on criminal activities in Amazon rainforest.

June 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Tensions ran high in lead-up to presidential elections as President Bolsonaro continued attacks on Supreme Court; concerns rose over lawlessness in Amazon forest. Preparations for elections scheduled in October continued amid deepening tensions between Bolsonaro administration and Supreme Court. Bolsonaro 6 June criticised Supreme Court justice and current president of Supreme Electoral Court for meeting international ambassadors to discuss electoral process, accusing justice of suggesting president might not accept possible defeat in October polls. Bolsonaro next day criticised Supreme Court removal of congressman Fernando Francischini over promoting fake news during 2018 elections, questioned if Supreme Court would “have the courage” to remove him from office too for raising same “reasonable doubts” over electoral process. Authorities 22 June arrested former education minister and two evangelical pastors for allegedly providing federal funds to mayors who would help Bolsonaro’s campaign; all three released next day. Lawlessness in Amazon forest came under spotlight after British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira 5 June disappeared in Javari Valley, Amazon region; rescue operators 15 June recovered bodies. Police 8, 15, and 18 June arrested three suspects. Local indigenous group UNIVAJA 17 June questioned police statement that killers acted alone, saying it had warned police since 2021 of organised criminal groups operating in Javari. Federal Police 21 June opened new investigation into possible role of illegal fishing groups in murders. Meanwhile, in Mato Grosso do Sul state (south west), clashes between security forces and members of Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous group 24 June in Amambai municipality killed one.

May 2022

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Former President da Silva launched presidential bid, and President Bolsonaro ramped up attacks on judiciary and electoral system. As Oct presidential elections edged closer, former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 7 May announced presidential campaign against incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro; speaking at “pre-launch” rally (official campaigning begins in August), he called on Brazilians to “build an alternative path to the incompetence and authoritarianism that govern us”. His announcement came amid growing fears that Bolsonaro, citing alleged flaws in electronic voting system, might not admit defeat, which could raise risk of violence. Poll by Quest consulting firm 11 May gave Lula clear lead over Bolsonaro. Amid ongoing feud between Bolsonaro and Supreme Court, president 17 May announced he was suing Justice Alexandre de Moraes, citing alleged “attacks on democracy, disrespect for the constitution and contempt for fundamental rights”; Moraes had previously repeatedly accused Bolsonaro of spreading fake news, notably around COVID-19; Supreme Court 18 May rejected complaint. In petition to UN, 80 jurists and legal researchers 18 May said Brazil’s democracy and independent judiciary were under threat. Meanwhile, police 24 May said raid to capture leaders of drug-trafficking organisation in Rio de Janeiro city’s north killed at least 23, second deadliest police raid in Brazil’s history. Video of 38-year-old black man asphyxiated in police car 26 May went viral, sparking outrage online and prompting some to take to streets in town of Umbaúba, northeastern state of Sergipe, to protest against police violence.

October 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Political tensions continued to run high as special parliamentary commission called for criminal charges against President Bolsonaro for mishandling COVID-19 health crisis. News investigation project “Pandora papers” 3 Oct revealed Economy Minister Paulo Guedes had deposited several million dollars in tax heavens. Guedes 20 Oct suggested govt might lift spending cap to pay for increased social spending; following announcement, dollar price spiked, stock market crashed and four economy ministry top employees resigned next day. Bolsonaro 21 Oct released video in which he said COVID-19 vaccines could cause AIDS; announcement immediately sparked widespread condemnation, and social media groups Facebook and Instagram 24 Oct removed Bolsonaro’s video from their platforms, categorising it as “fake news”; YouTube next day removed video and suspended Bolsonaro’s account for a week. Senate’s commission investigating govt’s role in COVID-19 pandemic 26 Oct recommended that Bolsonaro be tried on criminal charges – including for alleged crimes against humanity – for his handling of health crisis; same day asked Supreme Court to request Facebook and Twitter to ban Bolsonaro’s accounts indefinitely and requested access to records of Bolsonaro’s internet activity. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes 21 Oct issued arrest order against close Bolsonaro ally Allan dos Santos, now based in the U.S., for alleged role in disseminating fake information and anti-democratic actions; de Moreas 28 Oct warned “digital militias” linked to Bolsonaro would continue to “spread hatred, conspiracy, fear and to influence the elections” in 2022.

September 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Political tensions persisted as President Bolsonaro made incendiary remarks toward Supreme Court, which fuelled alarm among politicians. As Bolsonaro 7 Sept gave speech in São Paulo city indicating he would not abide anymore by Supreme Court’s rulings, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters gathered in São Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro cities; notably, right-wing activists en route to Congress and Supreme Court in capital Brasilia broke through barriers, had minor clashes with police. Hundreds of truck drivers next day blocked roads in 15 states in support of president and demanding Supreme Court judges’ impeachment. Bolsonaro 9 Sept asked truck drivers to open roads and said in conciliatory statement that he spoke “in the heat of the moment”, never meant to attack Supreme Court. Datafolha poll of 3667 Brazilians 17 Sept showed disapproval rates of president reached 53%, and ex-president ‘Lula’ Da Silva favourite to win 2022 elections. Bolsonaro 9 Sept prohibited social media from removing posts that violate misinformation rules; Senate and Supreme Court 15 Sept however nullified decision. Worst drought in almost a century 7 Sept forced govt to increase electricity prices by 7%; energy ministry warned of likely blackouts while cities, including Nova Friburgo and Petrópolis, started rationing water consumption.

August 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Rifts continued to deepen between President Bolsonaro and top court. Supreme Court 4 Aug opened investigation over President Bolsonaro’s unsupported claims that electronic voting system is riddled with fraud; Bolsonaro next day decried move as unconstitutional. Armed forces 10 Aug staged rare military parade with combat vehicles in streets of federal capital Brasília, reportedly in response to Bolsonaro’s order few days earlier; move seen by media commentators and opposition as show of force as Congress debated Bolsonaro’s proposal to revive use of paper ballots in next year’s general election; Lower House hours later voted down proposal. In WhatsApp message, Bolsonaro 14 Aug asked group of followers to take to the streets on 7 Sept to support “quite likely and necessary counter-coup” against judiciary. Bolsonaro 20 Aug asked Senate to impeach Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes, who is overseeing cases which could affect govt; Congress 25 Aug rejected request.

July 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Amid preparations for 2022 elections, tensions between armed forces and Congress resurfaced and President Bolsonaro claimed electronic voting allows fraud. Defence minister, retired Gen. Walter Braga Netto, 7 July released statement alongside army, navy and air force commanders condemning Senator Omar Aziz’s speech in which he denounced “rotten side of the military” involved in corruption, and saying he would not accept such attacks; Aziz chairs parliamentary commission investigating Bolsonaro’s handling of coronavirus pandemic. Air force commander Carlos Almeida Baptista 9 July reiterated condemnation of Aziz but denied any coup threat, saying “armed men do not make threats”. Bolsonaro 7 July said 2022 elections could be at risk if Congress does not pass electoral reforms ensuring all ballots are printed, claiming past use of electronic voting system had been marred by fraud; 10 July suggested Luís Roberto Barroso, Supreme Court judge and Supreme Electoral Court president, had personal interest in preventing electoral transparency. Newspaper Estado de São Paulo 22 July alleged Braga Netto had sent message to Arthur Lira, head of lower house of Congress, saying 2022 elections would only be held if electoral reform is approved; Braga Netto denied claim.

June 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Tensions ran high over management of COVID-19 pandemic as country surpassed 500,000 deaths. President Bolsonaro 9 June said COVID-19 vaccines “are still in an experimental phase”, 17 June alleged infection produces stronger immunity than vaccination, and 24 June questioned efficacy of Brazil’s most common vaccine Coronavax. Thousands 19 June protested in all 26 states and capital Brasilia against Bolsonaro’s COVID-19 policies, as country same day reached half a million deaths. Health ministry’s employee Luís Ricardo Fernandes 25 June testified before Senate parliamentary commission investigating govt’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, denounced irregularities in purchase of Indian vaccine Covaxin. Commission’s head Senator Omar Aziz late June reported mounting evidence that govt had committed “crimes against life”. Several opposition parties 30 June submitted “super impeachment request” against Bolsonaro to parliament’s lower house, accusing him of committing over 20 crimes in COVID-19 management; protests same day erupted in several cities including Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Recife and Sao Paulo. Opposition senator 28 June filed formal criminal complaint at Supreme Court against Bolsonaro for alleged irregularities in Covaxin deal. Superior Military Court’s President 17 June warned opposition’s attacks against president could result in “actions outside the Constitution”, paving way for military courts to try civilians.

May 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Tensions ran high between President Bolsonaro on one hand, and Congress, state governors and military on the other. Current Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga and three of his predecessors throughout month testified before Senate’s parliamentary commission investigating federal govt’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in over 450,000 deaths in country since early 2020. Notably, former Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta 4 May said that under his tenure he had “systematically” urged Bolsonaro to change his stance on pandemic, while former Health Minister Nelson Teich next day said he had resigned from his ministerial position over Bolsonaro’s pressure to widely use malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatment. Bolsonaro 5 May reiterated call on governors not to implement social distancing measures, said he will issue decree to “secure right of freedom of movement”. Thousands of govt supporters gathered in federal capital Brasília 15 May and country’s second most populous city Rio de Janeiro 23 May. Former health minister under Bolsonaro and lead witness on Senate’s parliamentary commission, Gen Eduardo Pazuello, appeared at 23 May protest, breaking military rules against active duty officers’ political involvement and furthering tensions between president and Army High Command. Bolsonaro 27 May threatened once again military action against any state govts announcing new COVID-19 related lockdowns. Tens of thousands 29 May protested across country against govt’s COVID-19 response, denouncing “dictatorship” and demanding Bolsonaro’s impeachment; police threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets at protesters in north-eastern city of Recife. Meanwhile, police raid in Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarezinho neighbourhood 6 May left 28 dead including one police officer; Rio de Janeiro’s Prosecutor’s Office 11 May announced creation of task force to investigate incident, including accusations that police carried out arbitrary killings and tampered with crime scene.

April 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Amid spiralling COVID-19 infection rates, series of Supreme Court rulings posed challenge to President Bolsonaro’s rule, notably his handling of pandemic. Supreme Court 14 April ordered Senate probe into govt’s “actions and omissions” in management of COVID-19 pandemic, including whether “genocide” was committed against indigenous communities in Amazon rainforest, who have been ravaged by P1 variant; 18-member commission, which opened probe 27 April, could recommend impeachment of Bolsonaro or even criminal proceedings against him. Supreme Court 8 April also ruled that mayors and governors may ban holding of in-person religious services as means to contain COVID-19; subsequently, Bolsonaro 23 April said army could intervene to “re-establish Article 5 of the Constitution” – which guarantees freedom of movement and religion – if lockdown measures he opposes led to chaos. Newly-appointed Justice Minister Anderson Torres 6 April replaced heads of federal police and federal highway patrol with Bolsonaro-backed candidates; move could help Bolsonaro secure more direct influence over law enforcement. In appeal ruling, Supreme Court 15 April upheld its March ruling annulling corruption convictions against former President Lula, permanently clearing way for Lula to stand for re-election in 2022.

March 2021

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Political tensions peaked as rifts deepened between President Bolsonaro and military, while COVID-19 pandemic spiralled out of control. Bolsonaro 29 March dismissed six cabinet members, including Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva and FM Ernesto Araújo; move followed growing rift between Bolsonaro and military on one hand, and lawmakers’ growing discontent over Araújo’s COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy, on the other. Commanders of Army, Navy and Air Force next day jointly resigned in protest. Meanwhile, spiralling COVID-19 infection rates – due partly to spread of COVID-19 P1 variant – overwhelmed hospitals across country; death toll 24 March reached milestone of 300,000 since outbreak of pandemic, and record 3,780 daily fatalities reported on 30 March. Bolsonaro 15 March appointed new health minister, fourth in a year, and 21 March labelled state governors and mayors “tyrants” for imposing lockdowns. Several Latin American countries strengthened travel restrictions to and from Brazil during month. Supreme Court 8 March annulled two corruption convictions against former President Lula on grounds that court did not have proper jurisdiction in case, clearing him to stand for re-election in 2022 general election; 23 March ruled that Judge Sergio Moro who presided over past proceedings was biased and acted in collusion with prosecutors.

August 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

President Bolsonaro strengthened his popularity and hold on power despite world’s second worst COVID-19 outbreak. Although COVID-19 pandemic reached milestones of 3mn reported infections and 100,000 deaths, most major cities continued to relax confinement measures as infection rate started to slow in most states, with only Goiás and Tocantins states reporting rising infection rate. Datafolha institute’s public opinion poll, which surveyed 2,065 people, 13 Aug showed Bolsonaro’s approval rating jump from 32% in June to 37%, with analysts attributing rise to emergency cash transfer program to people in need during pandemic. Piauí magazine 5 Aug reported that Bolsonaro had threatened to send troops to substitute Supreme Court judges in May after Judge Celso de Mello considered request to seize phones of Bolsonaro and his son Carlos as part of probe against group of presidential advisers suspected of fostering and spreading fake news; neither president nor Supreme Court commented on media report. Bolsonaro’s bid to build new political alliances with “Big Center” (Centrão) parties to strengthen govt support in Congress and avoid possible impeachment moved forward with 12 Aug appointment of center-right Progressive Party member, MP Ricardo Barros, as govt’s chief whip in Congress. In wake of increasing death toll from police operations to combat crime in poor communities of Rio de Janeiro, which led to 21-year high in police killings last year (1,814 dead) and further rises early this year, Supreme Court 18 Aug extended restrictions on police raids in Rio, allowing them only in case of extreme necessity and prohibiting use of helicopters in operations.

July 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Country remained second worst-affected by COVID-19 globally, while tensions ran high between President Bolsonaro’s govt and military, on one hand, and Supreme Court, on the other. Supreme Court Judge Gilmar Mendes 11 July said Bolsonaro’s response to COVID-19 pandemic amounted to “genocide”, and military could be seen as complicit. In response, Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo 14 July sent formal complaint against Judge Mendes to Federal Prosecution Office, accusing him of violating National Security Law, remnant of military regime. Brazil, country second worst affected by coronavirus globally, with more than 2mn active cases and 85,000 deaths; states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná (south) reported highest growth in number of cases in July; Bolsonaro 7 July tested positive. São Paulo Police Internal Affairs Department and Rio de Janeiro Institute of Public Safety 14 July reported record number of police killings in both cities, with 741 people killed by police in Rio de Janeiro and 442 others in São Paulo between Jan and May.

June 2020

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Amid COVID-19 spread and controversy over govt’s management of pandemic, political polarisation deepened as Supreme Court continued moves toward investigations of close allies of President Bolsonaro, and president’s supporters took to street to protest against legal proceedings. Following rise of tensions between Bolsonaro and Supreme Court after latter in recent months launched multiple investigations against close allies of president, including two of his sons, president’s supporters 13-14 June protested in Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, launching fireworks on Supreme Court building in capital Brasília; then Education Minister Abraham Weintraub who attended demonstration in Brasilia, said Supreme Court judges should be arrested; Weintraub resigned 18 June and left for U.S. after Supreme Court announced investigations against him over accusations of libel and disinformation. Amid Bolsonaro’s supporters’ call for military to close Supreme Court, Secretary of Govt General Luiz Eduardo Ramos 12 June said military would not intervene. 70 retired army officers next day published letter accusing Supreme Court of making politically-motivated decisions. Following Supreme Court order, authorities 15 June arrested pro-Bolsonaro protest leader Sara Giromini over accusations of raising funds for anti-democratic actions that could threaten national security. Amid COVID-19 spread, power struggle continued between Bolsonaro on one hand, and mayors and governors on the other after Supreme Court in April allowed local authorities to impose isolation measures amid COVID-19 pandemic; São Paulo 19 June and Rio de Janeiro next day extended quarantine until early July. Small-scale demonstrations took place 28 June in several cities against Bolsonaro’s handling of COVID-19 crisis, which reached 1mn reported active cases and 50,000 deaths 19 June.

October 2018

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Victory of far-right former army officer Jair Bolsonaro in presidential election 28 Oct raised widespread concerns over his past statements in support of authoritarianism, repression, state violence and economic nationalism; and for political reverberations of his win across region. During campaign dominated by issues of rising violent crime and political corruption, Bolsonaro praised Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship, said he would give police “carte blanche” to kill suspects in anti-crime drive, and threatened “clean up” of political rivals, saying leftist “outlaws will be banished from our homeland”; victory also raised concerns over respect for rights of LGBT people, women and indigenous groups.  Bolsonaro 29 Oct pledged to relax gun control and cut govt advertising funds for “lying” media outlets.

May 2006

Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil

Orchestrated, week-long clashes between notorious Sao Paolo gang First Capital Command and police claimed 170. Violence against police ordered by jailed leaders after 8 transferred away from Sao Paolo. Deaths included 40 police; officials denied police heavy-handed but gave no explanation for deaths of up to 107 “suspects”.

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.