Reports: Brazil Riot Leads to 1500+ Arrests, Dozens of Injuries, 6 in Critical Condition
January 9, 2023 12:23 pm
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Categories: Alexandre de Moraes Brazil Brazil violence Breitbart News Jair Bolsonaro JoshWho News Latin America Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Lula da Silva National Security police Politics Riots socialism
National news outlets in Brazil, citing the federal police, reported on Monday that the riot resulting in the near-total destruction of the Congressional and Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) headquarters had led to over 1,500 arrests and dozens of injuries, including journalists.
Protesters opposing the inauguration of far-left convicted felon Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as the country’s president on January 1 stormed Brasília on Sunday, breaching police barricades to break into the Brazilian Congress and destroy its façade, as well as several critical meeting chambers. The mob also attacked the STF, the nation’s supreme court, reportedly leaving its headquarters unusable and damaging or stealing priceless historical artifacts. The protesters attempted to break into the Planalto Palace, the president’s headquarters, but caused more minimal damage there.
#JornaldaManhã | Manifestantes deixam rastro de destruição em Brasília; gabinetes foram invadidos, obras ficaram destruídas e documentos são rasgados
? Confira na JP News pic.twitter.com/J5a8RRraky
— Jovem Pan News (@JovemPanNews) January 9, 2023
Lula became president this month after a bitter presidential race again his predecessor, conservative former President Jair Bolsonaro, that he won by a razor-thin margin. Lula should have been disqualified from running for president again as a result of crimes he was convicted for during his past term in office, from 2003 to 2011. Lula was sentenced to nearly 25 years in prison for taking bribes while president, but the STF overturned the conviction on jurisdictional grounds in 2021, allowing his name to be on the ballot.
STF Minister [justice] Alexandre de Moraes, who also ran the country’s top election court during the election, outlawed discussing Lula’s conviction or calling him a criminal in media communications while allowing Lula to spuriously call Bolsonaro a “pedophile.” The STF’s handling of the election has prompted a movement of Bolsonaro supporters calling for the military to intervene and prevent Lula from taking office, to which the Brazilian armed forces have not responded favorably.
The most substantial damage publicly documented in the capital on Sunday occurred at the STF, where Alexandre de Moraes’ personal effects were a target of particular destruction. One group of protesters tore the door off of his office and paraded it outside as a trophy.
?AHORA: Una foto tomada a la puerta del Ministro Alexandre De Morales, arrancada de su oficina OMG #Brasile #BREAKING pic.twitter.com/Zn9IDCeCM8
— Markito Shango (@MarkitoShango) January 8, 2023
The Brazilian outlet Jovem Pan reported on Monday that authorities had documented 40 people hospitalized during the riot. Six are reportedly in “grave” condition. One of those injured, the news network reported, was a military police commander, while six were journalists. The newspaper O Globo reported that 12 journalists had either been injured or had their equipment destroyed.
Police have arrested over 300 people at press time for participating in the riot, according to O Globo. Reports indicate that most of those arrested will face charges such as acts of violence against the states and conspiracy, which may result in prison terms of up to 12 years.
The bulk of arrests related to the riot that have occurred so far, however, were not of people directly participating in the event. In response to an order from de Moraes, the police dismantled a massive tent city of Bolsonaro supporters who had organized outside of the headquarters of the armed forces, asking the military to overthrow Lula. Police confirmed over 1,500 arrests as they dismantled the camp, most of those arrested going peacefully. The operation required 40 buses to transfer those detained to prisons.
Acampamento de golpistas é retirado da avenida Almirante Barroso, em Belém. O Pará foi o primeiro Estado a cumprir a ordem do Ministro Alexandre de Morais, do @STF_oficial pic.twitter.com/OhQKstT44p
— JL1 – TV Liberal (@JL1edicao) January 9, 2023
Reports indicate that police units throughout the country are enacting operations to dismantle similar pro-Bolsonaro camps nationwide.
Lula da Silva issued remarks following the riot on Sunday in which he personally accused Bolsonaro of instigating the riot and issued especially harsh words against Brasilia police, accusing officers of sympathizing with the rioters and acting in “bad faith.”
“There was incompetence, ill will, or bad faith on the part of people who protect the public security of the Federal District (Brasilia),” Lula asserted. “You will see the images of them guiding people to the walkway before the Plaza of the Three Powers.”
The Plaza of the Three Powers is the open space in between the offices of the president, Congress, and STF.
Lula decreed a “federal intervention” into Brasilia, which effectively strips the local government of police power and places it in the hands of a chosen Lula deputy.
Alexandre de Moraes also stripped Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha of the governorship for 90 days in response to the riot and decreed the removal of social media pages deemed to post “anti-democratic” content. In a statement regarding the incident on Sunday, de Moraes appeared to threaten to implicate Bolsonaro personally in the riots.
“Public officials (current and former) who continue to intentionally behave this way, cowardly pacting with the breaking of democracy and the installation of a state of exception [a coup],” de Moraes warned, “will be held responsible, because as Winston Churchill taught, ‘an appeaser is someone who feeds a crocodile waiting to be the last one devoured.’”
Elsewhere in his statement, de Moraes appeared to compare the protesters to Adolf Hitler.
“Brazilian democracy will no longer tolerate the ignoble policy of appeasement, whose failure was amply demonstrated in the tentative agreement between British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler,” he wrote.
Lula convened a meeting of the governors of Brazil’s 27 states, presumably omitting Rocha, on Monday to coordinate a crackdown on riot sympathizers.
Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.
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