Brasilia riots were part of a plan, Brazilian gov’t says

Brasilia, Jan 13 (EFE).- The Jan. 8 assaults on the seats of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Brazil’s government by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro were planned ahead of time, Justice Minister Flavio Dino told a press conference here Friday.

As proof, he pointed to a document found in the Brasilia home of Bolsonaro’s erstwhile justice minister, Anderson Torres, who is wanted for questioning about the disturbances last Sunday.

The search of the residence turned up a draft of an executive order that would have allowed the rightist Bolsonaro to overturn the result of the Oct. 30 presidential runoff, narrowly won by former two-term President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“The document sets up a fundamental element for the comprehension of the cause and effect,” Dino said. “It is a nexus of the relationship of the events that began Oct. 30 and continued until Jan. 8. It shows that they not isolated cases – there was planning.”

Authorities are still working to determine who wrote the draft, the minister said.

The first article of the document, published by Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, envisioned that Bolsonaro would declare a state of emergency to seize control of the Superior Electoral Court and effect a “correction of the presidential electoral process.”

Torres, who accompanied Bolsonaro to the United States two days before Lula’s Jan. 1 inauguration, said this week on Twitter that the draft executive order was in a pile of documents that were headed for the shredder.

He also said that the text was “taken out of context” and proclaimed his “respect for Brazilian democracy.”

Installed during the final days of the Bolsonaro administration as public safety secretary in the Federal District of Brasilia, Torres had control of the district’s police, who watched impassively as mobs stormed and vandalized Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace.

He has vowed to come back from the US and cooperate with the investigation of the riots, but Dino said Friday that if Torres does not return by next Monday, Brazil will seek his extradition.

Nearly 1,800 people have been detained in connection with last Sunday’s attacks, which came after months of agitation by Bolsonaro partisans unhappy with the election result.

Supporters of the defeated incumbent camped outside army headquarters for two months to demand that the military intervene to keep Bolsonaro in power.

In mid-December, Bolsonaro’s followers blocked roads and assaulted a police station in Brasilia days before parking a fuel truck rigged with explosives near the city’s airport.

Police discovered the vehicle in time to prevent what could have been a disaster. EFE


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