Brazil: reinforced security in Brasilia, forty people charged

The Brazilian authorities have tightened security around the centers of power ransacked on January 8, imprisoned a thousand people and initiated proceedings against about forty of them suspected of having participated in the riots or incited the coup. ‘State.

The security of the Federal District was placed under the control of the executive by a presidential decree on January 8, when thousands of Bolsonarists invaded and ransacked the three centers of power, just a week after the inauguration of the President of left Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The number of military police stationed near the Presidential Palace, the Congress and the Supreme Court will “immediately” be increased from 248 to 500, announced the interim governor of the Federal District Celina Leao.

Ms. Leao replaces Ibaneis Rocha, who was suspended for 90 days due to security breaches on January 8.

More than 2,000 people were arrested after the attacks, which the government described as “terrorist acts”.

Nearly 1,200 were imprisoned and the prosecution initiated formal proceedings against 39 of them for armed criminal association, damage to property, violence against the democratic state and incitement to a coup.

Members of the security forces arrest Bolsonarist demonstrators who invaded the presidential palace on January 8, 2022 in Brasilia (AFP/Archives – Ton MOLINA)

Infrastructure, priceless works of art and furniture forming part of the national heritage were destroyed by the rioters, who left behind graffiti calling for a military coup.

“Our concern is that these acts will never happen again,” said Attorney General Augusto Aras, who also ordered the freezing of 40 million reais ($7.7 million) in assets belonging to these 39 people.

– “Professionals” among the rioters? –

Mr Cappelli, appointed by the executive branch to oversee security in Brasilia, said on Monday that the investigations were aimed in particular at determining whether there were “professionals” among the rioters.

A police officer recovers vandalized sculptures in front of the Supreme Court building, two days after the ransacking of places of power by Bolsonarist demonstrators, on January 10, 2023 in Brasilia (AFP/Archives - CARL DE SOUZA)
A police officer recovers vandalized sculptures in front of the Supreme Court building, two days after the ransacking of places of power by Bolsonarist demonstrators, on January 10, 2023 in Brasilia (AFP/Archives – CARL DE SOUZA)

“There were men among the protesters with knowledge of the terrain, combat tactics and professional characteristics,” he said, citing a sergeant injured in the riot, in which Mr. Cappelli, 44 soldiers were injured.

New leftist President Lula and his justice minister both said the riots probably could not have happened without help from within, including the security forces.

The extent of damage to national heritage is still being determined.

Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in the United States since December 30, two days before the end of his mandate, denies any link with these attacks. However, he is under investigation.

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in front of his home in Kissimmee on January 12, 2023 in Florida (AFP/Archives - CHANDAN KHANNA)
Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in front of his home in Kissimmee on January 12, 2023 in Florida (AFP/Archives – CHANDAN KHANNA)

The former Brazilian president appeared in a video posted Monday by the Metropoles news site, speaking to supporters near his vacation home in Orlando, Florida.

“I deplore what happened” on January 8, Bolsonaro said, calling the events “incredible” and admitting “a few mistakes” during his tenure.

Federal police said a search operation for three suspects suspected of having financed and organized acts of vandalism, roadblocks and anti-democratic demonstrations in recent weeks led to the arrest of one person on Monday.

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