The magnificent stark white modernist buildings of Brazil’s capital were unveiled in the 1960s as a modern utopia and a symbol of optimism and trust in the future.
Its lustre is faded today. The Three Powers Plaza surrounded by Congress, the Supreme Court, and presidential palace is pockmarked from a day of rioting.
It’s deadly quiet now, the police have closed the roads to all traffic.
A destroyed police car is taped off as a crime exhibit.
The windows of these great institutions of state have been smashed – and dark patches of earth appear on the once pristine floor of the square, where handmade tiles have been dug up to throw at the security forces and the buildings at the very heart of government.
As we were taken into the presidential palace, cleaners were hastily brushing away shards of glass while workmen attempted to replace parts of the battered interior or at least make them safe.
Supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro ran riot here on Sunday. They’ve been moved on – their tents and camps outside the army base have been broken down. And many were arrested.
But Brazil and the supporters of the new president, Lula da Silva, are on edge.
They believe this was a concerted effort at a coup d’état and they also believe it isn’t over yet.
They took to the streets in a show of support for the new government, protesting outside the heavily guarded governor’s office in Brasilia.
They believe the governor was complicit or at least negligent in failing to stop the mob violence on Sunday.
They said they had come to show their support for democracy – and defiance at the actions of supporters of the former president Jair Bolsonaro.
Mateus Menezes, who’d brought his wife and two little girls along to the demo, told me they’re really sad and scared for their children’s futures.
“We have never seen anything like this, we’ve seen films and read magazines about this kind of thing, but we never thought we would experience it here.”
What happened here at the weekend appears not to have been a random outpouring of anger.
Investigators believe it was an organised attempted coup that has been weeks or even months in the making – and that it may even have had the support of the deposed President Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently in Florida.
On Sunday, when thousands of pro-Bolsonaro supporters surged through the ramparts of the institutions of the state, security services were either overwhelmed or did little to stop them.
Their lack of action is also under scrutiny.
The investigation into what happened here will doubtless look closely at the eerily similar events that took place in the United States two years ago on Capitol Hill.
The parallels between Jair Bolsonaro’s and Donald Trump’s supporters, their tactics, and their demands are well-documented.
The supporters of these populist leaders agree on many things – and never accepting that they actually lost an election is one of them.