Misleading: Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro stole original copy of the Brazil 1988 Constitution.

By: Annie Priya
January 19 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Misleading: Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro stole original copy of the Brazil 1988 Constitution.


The Verdict Misleading

The copy taken by protestors during the January 8 riots was a replica of the original Constitution. The original copy is in a museum and was unharmed.

Claim ID 5c961ca4


A 20-second clip of a man wearing a Brazilian flag standing atop the La Justicia sculpture in front of the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF)—Brazil's apex court— building in the capital city of Brasilia, holding up a book in front of a large cheering crowd has been shared on social media with the claim that the protester stole the original Brazil 1988 constitution. Twitter user Luiz Carlos shared the video with the caption, "The original copy of CF/88" originally in Portugese. The post has garnered over 62,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 7,000 times on Twitter so far. 

The viral clip began circulating soon after supporters of former Brazil president and far-right politician Jair Bolsanaro stormed the Brazilian Congress, the Supreme Court, the presidential palace — headquarters of Brazil's legislative, executive and judicial powers — on January 8 to protest alleged "election fraud" that resulted in leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva becoming the president for the third time.

In Fact

After conducting a reverse image search using a screenshot from the viral video, we came across pictures of the incident published by the Brazilian outlet Correio Braziliense (CB) on January 09, 2023, as a part of a news report. The outlet reported that the book held up by the protester outside the STF building was not the original copy of the constitution but a replica that was put on display in the White Room inside the Supreme Court. According to the report, the original copy of Brazil's constitution is kept at the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) museum, which is located in the building's basement. The report clarified that the original copy of the Federal Constitution was not touched by the protestors.

On January 12, 2023, the Brazilian Supreme Court also released a statement confirming that the book taken by the protestors during "the acts of vandalism" is a replica of the 1988 Federal Constitution that was kept on display in the White Room. Originally written in Portugese, the statement added that the copy of the replica was recovered from the protesters and will be returned to the Court by justice and security minister Flávio Dino. "The original copy of the Federal Constitution that is part of the STF collection, one of the five available, was not the target of vandals and remains preserved at the Supreme Court Museum," the statement added.

Sharing the news of the retrieval of the Constitution's replica, Minister of Justice and Security Flávio Dino tweeted: "The Constitution that the terrorists stole from the STF was seized and recovered. Long live the Constitution! She won and will always win. The tweet, originally written in Portugese, was posted on January 12.

According to BBC, when Bolsanro supporters ransacked government buildings during the January 8 protests, a rich collection of art also suffered significant damage. Till January 11, at least 1,200 people were arrested by the Brazilian Police in connection with the riots. Several countries, including Russia, China, Canada, and the United States, have condemned the riots and voiced their support for the new government. Ex-President Bolsonaro's role in the riots is being probed, and the country's Supreme Court, on January 13, launched an investigation into the January 8 riots, reported The Wall Street Journal. Bolsonaro is currently in Orlando, Florida, but some U.S. lawmakers want the controversial leader removed from the country. 

The Verdict

The copy of Brazil's Constitution that was held by Bolsanro supporters when they stormed government buildings is a replica and not the original edition. The original copy of the Federal Constitution is preserved in a museum and was not harmed in the January 8 Brazil riots. Therefore, we mark this claim as misleading.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before