Conflicts & War

Brazilian judge orders Bolsonaro ally arrested over capital riot

Brasilia, Jan 10 (EFE).- An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for the justice minister in the just-ended administration of Jair Bolsonaro on suspicion he was involved in last weekend’s violent attacks on Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace by supporters of the former president.

Shortly before leaving office, Bolsonaro named Anderson Torres as security chief in the Federal District of Brasilia.

Though Torres accompanied the outgoing president to the United States three days before Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn-in on Jan. 1, authorities suspect that he arranged for police to allow thousands of Bolsonaro partisans to storm and vandalize the government buildings last Sunday in a bid to topple the new administration.

Lula, who was viewing flood damage in another part of the country at the time of the disturbances, signed a executive order giving temporary responsibility for security in the capital to the Federal Police, who put down the riot.

“Prison was ordered for the ex-secretary of Public Safety in Brasilia, Anderson Torres. One more action by the Judiciary to show that the institutions function and will not tolerate barbarity,” Sen. Randolfe Rodrigues said on Twitter.

The warrant for Torres was issued by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who likewise ordered the arrest of the former police commander in Brasilia, Fabio Augusto Vieira, who was detained Tuesday.

Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime, never explicitly acknowledged his loss to Lula, a former two-term president, in the Oct. 30 runoff and some of his hard-core supporters spent months camped outside army headquarters urging the military to mount a coup to keep the rightist in power.

Torres was dismissed on Sunday by Brasilia Gov. Ibaneis Rocha, subsequently suspended from office amid questions about his own response to the mayhem.

Video disseminated in Brazilian media show police watching impassively as mobs stormed and vandalized the public buildings.

The Federal Police said Tuesday that 599 of the more than 1,500 people detained in connection with the events in the capital were released “for humanitarian reasons.”

Their release does not necessarily mean that they will not face any charges, a spokesman told EFE.

The number of those formally arrested stands at 727, while several hundred other detainees continue to undergo questioning.

Roughly 300 people were taken into custody during the riot, while the rest were detained the following day when police broke up the pro-Bolsonaro encampment at army headquarters. EFE cms/dr

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