Lula slams far-right 'terrorism' as Brazil clears protest camps

Brazilian security forces cleared protest camps Monday and arrested 1,500 people as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned "acts of terrorism" after a far-right mob stormed the seat of power, unleashing chaos on the capital.

Hundreds of soldiers and police mobilized to dismantle an improvised camp outside the army's headquarters in Brasilia.

There, some 3,000 supporters of ex-president Jair Bolsonaro had set up tents -- used as a base for the sea of protesters who ran riot inside the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court for around four hours Sunday.

Lula, who took office on January 1 after a bitterly divisive election win over Bolsonaro, returned to work in the pillaged presidential palace, where AFP reporters saw the wreckage that remained of the previous day's havoc: trashed artwork and offices, shattered windows and doors, broken glass strewn across the floor, and furniture dragged into a reflecting pool.

Lula, the 77-year-old veteran leftist who previously led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, met with the leaders of both houses of Congress and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and joined them in condemning what many called the South American country's version of the US Capitol riots in Washington two years ago. "The three powers of the republic, the defenders of democracy and the constitution, reject the terrorist acts and criminal, coup-mongering vandalism that occurred," they said in a joint statement.

Lula accepted an invitation to meet with President Joe Biden next month in Washington, US officials said.Bolsonaro, who narrowly lost the October elections, was meanwhile hospitalized with abdominal pains, his wife said. 

Bolsonaro has alleged he is the victim of a conspiracy against him by Brazil's...

Continue reading on: