Bolsonaro ups tension with Congress, Supreme Court amid political crisis

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Brasilia, May 3 (efe-epa).- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro exacerbated tensions with top institutions in the country Sunday by taking part in another protest against Congress and the Supreme Court, which recognized aggression against journalists in the midst of a political crisis opened by the serious accusations made by ex-minister Sergio Moro.

Th leader and Army Reserve captain once again showed his unconditional support for hundreds gathered in front of the Presidential Palace of Planalto, at a time when the political and institutional crises are joined by the health crisis: the curve of infections and deaths caused by the COVID-19 has soared in the country.

At least two journalists covering the protest were verbally and physically attacked, according to local media reports.

“You know that the people are with us. The Armed Forces, who are on the side of law, order, democracy and liberty, are also on our side, and God above all,” said the president in a statement on his social media networks.

The protesters criticized Congress and the Supreme Court, which have paralyzed or canceled some of Bolsonaro’s initiatives since he came to power on Jan. 1, 2019.

Some of them carried signs calling for military intervention and the closure of the two institutions. Brazil was under a military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985.

The president “begged God” for his government to “not have problems” next week because he has “reached the limit,” without specifying what he was referring to.

This is the second time that the head of state has taken part in an act considered “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” by the opposition and human rights organizations.

On Apr. 19, Bolsonaro joined a similar protest, also in Brasilia, after which the Supreme Court authorized an investigation to find out who was behind it.

In Sunday’s event, the president’s supporters chanted “Moro, trash” since the ex-minister has turned into an enemy after his departure from the government.

Moro, who was the most popular executive minister for his work as a judge in the anti-corruption operation known as Lava Jato (Car Wash), resigned last week after the removal of the head of the Federal Police, Mauricio Valeixo.

In his farewell, the former minister accused the head of state of trying to “politically interfere” in the Federal Police, which is investigating two of the president’s children.

Moro’s explosive statements led to the opening of an investigation authorized by the Supreme Court not only against Bolsonaro, but also against the former judge himself, to find out their veracity.

The proceedings of the case began the day before with the eight-hour interrogation of Moro in the Federal Police Superintendency of Curitiba, the city where Operation Car Wash was carried out, taking former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prison, among others.

According to local media, in that interrogation Moro presented “conversations, audios and emails” exchanged with Bolsonaro that would support his accusations.

If the Prosecutor’s Office finds evidence against the president, it could file a formal complaint with the Supreme Court, which could only process it with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of the votes in the Chamber of Deputies (342 out of a total of 513).

In that case, Bolsonaro would be suspended from his post for 180 days and if the Supreme Court found him guilty, he would be removed and succeeded by the vice president, the reserve general, Hamilton Mourao.

In the midst of this crisis, Bolsonaro named the director of the intelligence agency Alexandre Ramagem, a friend of the president’s family, as the new director of the Federal Police.

However, the appointment was canceled by Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes due to Ramagem’s proximity to the so-called “Bolsonaro clan.”

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