By: Praveen Kumar
January 10 2023
An image from a protest held in Brazil's São Paulo in September 2021 has been shared in the context of the January 2023 protest in Brasília.
On Sunday, January 8, supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonoaro stormed the official buildings of the Brazilian Congress, Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in the capital city of Brasilia, alleging electoral fraud. This violent demonstration was the culmination of months of election-related tension stemming from Bolsonaro's loss to his opponent, the leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in the October 2022 presidential election.
Soon after the violence erupted, images of a man clad in an indigenous horned headdress, with face and body paint in the colors of the Brazilian flag, and holding a megaphone were shared on Twitter. Several users shared those images with captions claiming that Brazil saw its version of the QAnon Shaman during the invasion of the Brazilian Congress on January 8.
The Brazilian protestor's appearance resembled that of the spear-carrying rioter Jacob Chansley from the widely reported attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021. PBS News Hour reported that Chansley, a follower of the popular conspiracy theory QAnon, who called himself the QAnon Shaman at the time. Although these images are of a supporter of the former president, Jair Bolsonaro, taken in Brazil, they are not from the January 2023 uprising.
A reverse image search of the viral photo led us to an article from the website Diário do Centro do Mundo dated September 7, 2021. It reported that a Bolsonaro supporter dressed like the QAnon Shaman participated in a massive protest at Paulista Avenue in São Paulo. The story credited the photo to an Instagram post by Oliveira Cecilia, a journalist with The Intercept Brazil. Cecilia's post from September 7, 2021 said that the photo was taken in São Paulo and credited it to Guilherme Gandolfi. On September 8, 2021, American political scientist Ian Bremmer and the Brazilian newspaper Brasil de Fato also tweeted about it, highlighting the similarity between the protestor and Chansley's January 2021 appearance as the QAnon Shaman.
The images of the Brazilian protestor dressed like the QAnon Shaman are from a September 2021 rally in São Paulo. While it shows an individual present at a rally in Brazil, it is not related to the invasion of the National Congress of Brazil in Brasília on January 8, 2023. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.