Brazilian Authorities Arrested the Rioters. Now They Are Arresting Safety Officers.


BRASÍLIA — Brazilian authorities on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 2 authorities safety officers, zeroed in on folks suspected of funding this week’s violent protests and requested a federal court docket to freeze the belongings of the far-right former president, Jair Bolsonaro, a broad enlargement of the investigation into the invasion of Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court docket and presidential workplaces by protesters on Sunday.

The strikes confirmed that, a day after arresting lots of of individuals suspected of collaborating in Sunday’s riot in Brazil’s capital, Brasília, the nation’s high officers have now turned their focus to the political and enterprise elites suspected of inspiring, organizing or aiding the rioters.

Alexandre de Moraes, a Brazilian Supreme Court docket justice, issued the warrants for the 2 safety officers, together with Anderson Torres, the person successfully accountable for safety for the capital, in response to a request by the federal police.

Mr. Moraes, a controversial determine who has been accused of severely overstepping his authority, mentioned that investigators had proof that the officers knew violence was brewing however did nothing to cease it. He mentioned that they had been underneath investigation for terrorism, felony affiliation and offenses associated to the violent overthrow of democracy.

Individually on Tuesday, a high public prosecutor requested a federal court docket to freeze the belongings of Mr. Bolsonaro in relation to the investigation into the riots, although his workplace declined to clarify why.

The protesters invaded the federal government buildings underneath the false perception that October’s presidential election, which Mr. Bolsonaro misplaced, was rigged, their actions spurred partially due to his yearslong efforts to undermine the citizens’s religion in Brazil’s election methods.

The request to freeze Mr. Bolsonaro’s belongings is now within the arms of a decide, however it’s unclear whether or not the court docket has the authorized energy to dam his accounts. And freezing belongings, even when it weren’t challenged in court docket, might show a prolonged and sophisticated course of.

Authorities are additionally anticipated to take motion in opposition to greater than 100 corporations thought to have helped the protesters, together with many believed to have transported rioters to the capital or to have supplied them with free meals and shelter, in accordance with Brazilian media studies.

Brazil’s new justice minister, Flávio Dino, mentioned authorities investigators had zeroed in on corporations in not less than 10 states that had been suspected of getting helped finance the riots. Authorities had been looking for arrest warrants for “individuals who didn’t come to Brasília, however who participated within the crime, who’re organizers, financiers,” Mr. Dino mentioned on Tuesday.

Each Mr. Dino and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have mentioned that they imagine outstanding gamers within the nation’s highly effective agriculture business, which largely backed Mr. Bolsonaro within the election, performed a task.

“These folks had been there at this time, the agribusiness,” Mr. Lula mentioned after the assaults, including that “all these folks will likely be investigated, discovered, and will likely be punished.”

The strikes highlighted the rising scope of the hunt to determine the ideological, logistical and monetary architects of Sunday’s chaos, the worst assault on Brazil’s establishments since a army dictatorship resulted in 1985.

Many individuals who participated within the riots had been camped out for weeks outdoors the Military headquarters in Brasília, espousing the false declare that October’s election was stolen and calling for the army to step in. Navy and impartial specialists discovered no credible proof of voter fraud within the election, wherein Mr. Lula, a leftist former president, defeated Mr. Bolsonaro. Mr. Lula took workplace on Jan. 1.

Whereas Mr. Bolsonaro had for years asserted, with out proof, that Brazil’s election methods had been stricken by fraud, after the election he licensed the transition of energy to Mr. Lula. Mr. Bolsonaro, who has been in the US since earlier than the inauguration, criticized the rioters on Sunday, saying that peaceable demonstrations had been a part of democracy however the “destruction and invasions of public buildings” was not.

Within the wake of the riot, investigators are grappling with troublesome questions on why rioters had been in a position to enter federal authorities buildings so simply — and whether or not safety authorities had been blindsided, negligent or in some way complicit.

Some officers have been fast to position a lot of the blame on Mr. Torres, who served as Mr. Bolsonaro’s justice minister earlier than changing into the safety chief of the Federal District, a small province that features Brasília, on Jan. 2. That place made him largely accountable for the safety plans for the protest on Sunday.

But upon taking the brand new job, Mr. Torres shortly dismissed a number of key officers in his employees after which left for a trip to Florida, leaving him out of the state throughout Sunday’s protests, in accordance with Ricardo Cappelli, who has quickly changed Mr. Torres underneath an emergency decree signed by Mr. Lula.

In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Globo on Tuesday, Mr. Cappelli mentioned that within the days forward of the big deliberate protests on Sunday, Mr. Torres assured the federal authorities that his group was in management.

“What reached us was info saying that all the pieces was effective, that the demonstration can be peaceable and that the troops would assure it,” he mentioned.

In feedback to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Cappelli accused Mr. Torres of purposefully “sabotaging” the safety across the protests. As quickly as Mr. Torres took over on Jan. 2, he mentioned, “Chaos ensues. Coincidence? I don’t suppose so.”

Federal officers have additionally mentioned that, throughout a planning assembly two days earlier than the protests, Mr. Torres and different officers promised a much more strong safety presence in the course of the demonstrations than what they delivered.

State officers have mentioned they accepted duty for the failures, however haven’t defined why safety was mild, regardless of warnings of the potential of violent protests.

Mr. Torres mentioned on Twitter that he would lower his trip quick and return to Brazil to defend himself. “I’ve all the time guided my actions with ethics and legality. I imagine within the Brazilian justice system and within the power of the establishments. I’m sure that the reality will prevail,” he mentioned.

Mr. Torres has lengthy been a detailed ally of Mr. Bolsonaro. As the previous president’s justice minister, Mr. Torres was a key participant within the assaults in opposition to Brazil’s digital voting machines. In July 2021, Mr. Bolsonaro introduced that he would lay out his full case on why Brazil’s election system was rife with fraud. In a subsequent two-hour livestream, Mr. Torres sat subsequent to him and offered movies claiming to point out how voting machines could possibly be hacked, which safety specialists later debunked.

Responding to requests from the federal police, Mr. Moraes issued warrants for the arrest of Mr. Torres and Fabio Augusto Vieira, the chief of the Federal District’s police. Mr. Moraes mentioned the arrests had been vital to guard the investigation, stopping the suspects from destroying proof or intimidating witnesses.

Brazil’s solicitor common additionally issued a request for Mr. Torres’s arrest, whereas one other high federal prosecutor requested to freeze his belongings. That prosecutor additionally requested to freeze the belongings of the Federal District’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, who has additionally been accused of permitting insufficient safety in the course of the protests.

Hours after the riots concluded, Mr. Moraes suspended Mr. Rocha from his job as governor for not less than 90 days.

Mr. Moraes, a Supreme Court docket justice who can be Brazil’s elections chief, has turn into one of many nation’s strongest officers lately after his fellow justices expanded his authority to fight what they name an uncommon menace to Brazil’s democracy posed by Mr. Bolsonaro and his supporters.

Within the run as much as final 12 months’s election, Mr. Moraes and fellow justices jailed a number of of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters with out trial for threatening Brazilian officers or establishments, and Mr. Moraes has compelled tech corporations to droop the accounts of dozens of outstanding right-wing voices.

Some on Brazil’s proper have criticized the aggressive response to the riots, saying Mr. Moraes and different officers are overstepping their authority. Hamilton Mourão, a former Military common who was Mr. Bolsonaro’s vp, criticized what he referred to as “indiscriminate detention” of individuals suspected of collaborating within the riots. The crackdown, he wrote on social media, “exhibits that the brand new authorities, in step with its Marxist-Leninist roots, acts in an amateurish, inhumane and unlawful method.”w

By Tuesday, the police had arrested 727 folks in reference to the riots and had been nonetheless questioning lots of of others, the federal police mentioned in a press release. Some 599 individuals who had been detained for questioning had been launched from custody.

Many rioters filmed themselves and others as they invaded the federal government buildings, giving authorities a physique of proof to construct a case. Augusto de Arruda Botelho, Brazil’s justice secretary, mentioned the police had additionally collected DNA samples and fingerprints from the buildings.

Flávia Milhorance and Yan Boechat contributed reporting.


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