1,500 arrested in Brazil over capital riots
Brasilia : Some 1,500 people have been arrested in Brazil in the wake of the violent riots staged by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed the Supreme Court, Congress and the presidential palace in the country’s capital.
Authorities arrested 1,200 people on Monday in addition to 300 detained on Sunday just hours after the riots took place, reports the BBC. According to Justice Minister Flavio Dino, some 40 buses which had been used to transport protesters to the capital had been seized.
Also on Monday, heavily armed officers dismantled a camp of Bolsonaro supporters in Brasilia one of a number that have been set up outside army barracks around the country since the presidential election in October 2022.
Sunday’s violence came exactly a week after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in. Lula, who was President between January 2003 and December 2010, defeated Bolsonaro by a narrow margin in the October 31, 2022 run-off election.
Wearing shirts in the colours of Brazil’s flag yellow and green the protesters vandalised the buildings in capital Brasilia that house the South American nation’s key democratic institutions, reports the BBC.
The police had to resort to firing tear gas when the demonstrators wrapped in the national flag surrounded the presidential palace.
The violence left behind widespread damagealmost every window on the presidential palace building’s ground floor had been destroyed, forcing crews to remove each pane of glass and replace it with a new one.
The cobblestone pavement outside the palace also showed signs of damage, with large patches torn out by the rioters. In the nearby Congress building, valuable works of art, including several high-profile pieces, were reportedly damaged by water or defaced during the riot, the BBC reported.
Lula and the heads of Congress and the Supreme Court said they “reject the terrorist acts and criminal, coup-mongering vandalism that occurred” on Sunday. Meanwhile, Braslia Governor Ibaneis Rocha has been removed from his post for 90 days by the Supreme Court after being accused of failing to prevent the riot and of being “painfully silent” in the face of the attack.
Rocha has apologised for the violence. Heads of state around the world have also denounced the violence, with the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico issuing a joint statement on Monday condemning “attacks on Brazil’s democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power”.
Late on Monday, President Joe Biden “conveyed the unwavering support of the US for Brazil’s democracy” during a phone call with Lula, the White House said in a statement. It added that the Brazilian leader had accepted Biden’s invitation to visit Washington in early February.