Brazil launches sweeping probe after pro-Bolsonaro riots

World Monday 09/January/2023 14:26 PM
By: DW
Brazil launches sweeping probe after pro-Bolsonaro riots

Brasilia: Authorities in Brazil launched an investigation on Monday after thousands of supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country's highest seats of power.

The protesters — who were demanding that newly-elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva be ousted —  left a trail of destruction in scenes that echoed the 2021 US Capitol invasion by fans of former President Donald Trump.

What are investigators doing?
Brazil's Institutional Relations Minister Alexandre Padilha said the vandalized buildings would be inspected for evidence including fingerprints and images to find the culprits.

He said the rioters apparently intended to spark similar actions nationwide.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino equated the acts to terrorism and the stoking of a coup. He said authorities had started tracking those who paid for buses that transported protesters to the capital.

"They will not succeed in destroying Brazilian democracy," Dino said. "We need to say that fully, with all firmness and conviction."

"We will not accept the path of criminality to carry out political fights in Brazil. A criminal is treated like a criminal."
The federal district's civil police said on Monday that 300 people had been arrested so far.

Repercussions for senior officials
The Brazilian president had earlier read a freshly signed decree for the federal government to assume control of security in the federal district.

Lula said that "fascist fanatics,'' as well as those who financed their activities, should be punished, and accused Bolsonaro of stoking up their uprising.

Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha fired the security chief of the capital, Anderson Torres, who was previously Bolsonaro's justice minister.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court magistrate Alexandre de Moraes ordered that Torres himself should relinquish his post for 90 days.

The office of Brazil's attorney general said it had asked the Supreme Court to issue arrest warrants for Torres "and all other public officials responsible for acts and omissions" that had led to the unrest.

There has been international condemnation of the violent protests that centered on Brasilia's Three Powers Square.