The International Press Institute (IPI) is alarmed by reports that multiple journalists in Brazil were attacked by supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro while those supporters stormed government buildings in the capital Brasilia on January 8.

At least 12 journalists were physically attacked or threatened, and some reported having their equipment broken or stolen, according to reports. The Union of Professional Journalists in the Federal District condemned the violence.

“IPI strongly condemns the attacks on journalists carried out by Bolsonaro supporters during their storming of key Brazilian democratic institutions on Sunday”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “We are appalled by the targeting of the press, which itself forms a crucial pillar of Brazilian democracy. As part of their investigations into Sunday’s events, Brazilian authorities must investigate each of these attacks on journalists and hold those responsible to account.”

IPI Executive Board member Paula Miraglia, founder and editor of the Brazilian news outlet Nexo Jornal, said: “The violent episodes that took place in Brasilia are an attack on our democracy. The fact that many journalists were assaulted is not only unacceptable, it also underlines the authoritarian nature of the events.”

Bolsonaro supporters on Sunday stormed several official buildings in Brasilia, including the Brazilian Congress, the Supreme Court and offices of the presidency. Bolsonaro has refused to explicitly acknowledge Lula da Silva as the winner of the October 30 presidential runoff and has questioned the credibility of Brazil’s election system. Da Silva was inaugurated as Brazil’s president on January 1.