Flag of brazil made with computer code on the laptop screen. hacking or cybersecurity related 3D rendering

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‘We want the source code’: Far-right in Brazil are using the Jan. 6 playbook to overturn an election

Voting fraud conspiracy theories are running rampant in Brazil.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Rioters in Brazil are demanding access to voting machine source code over the belief that the country’s recent presidential election was stolen.

As right-wing supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed and vandalized government buildings in Brazil’s capital on Sunday—in an eerily similar fashion to those who took over the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020—a large banner was spotted outlining one of the crowd’s demands.

“We Want The Source Code,” the sign said in English.

Bolsonaro’s supporters have been protesting the former president’s loss since later October, shortly after his left-wing opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the presidential election. The protests have only intensified since Lula was sworn in on Jan. 1.

In the run-up to the election, Brazil was bombarded with misinformation, including from far-right figures in the U.S. such as former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, alleging that a loss by Bolsonaro would prove election tampering.

The sudden focus on source code in Brazil is nearly identical to demands made by election deniers in the U.S., who targeted voting machine companies following election losses on both the federal and state level. And despite sensational claims from figures such as Mike Lindell and Ron Watkins, no evidence has shown any proof of rigged voting machines in the U.S.

Nevertheless, the election-denial playbook crafted by Trump supporters is playing out perfectly in Brazil.

Lula has since responded to the chaos by labeling rioters as “fascists” in a statement on Twitter.

“Whoever did this will be found and punished. Democracy guarantees the right to free expression, but it also requires people to respect institutions,” a translation of Lula’s tweet reads. “There is no precedent in the history of the country what they did today. For that they must be punished.”

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, who fled the country for Florida, stated on Twitter that he was against any such violent actions.

“Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of the law, are part of democracy,” a translation of Bolsonaro’s tweet says. “However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule.”

If the events in the U.S. are any guide, no evidence, or lack thereof, is likely to dissuade Bolsonaro’s supporters from believing that the election was stolen.

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