Brazil’s Lula: Bolsonaro was behind coup attempt
Sao Paulo, Feb 2 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has accused right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro of plotting the Jan. 8 attacks in Brasilia on the seats of the legislature, judiciary and presidency.
Lula made the charge in an interview with RedeTV that was set to air Thursday night.
“That citizen prepared the coup. I’m going to say it loud and clear: that citizen prepared the coup,” the 77-year-old president said in an excerpt from the interview posted on social media.
Asked if was referring to Bolsonaro, Lula replied, “I am certain that Bolsonaro participated actively and is still trying to participate.”
The former two-term president defeated the incumbent in the Oct. 30 runoff, but Bolsonaro has yet to acknowledge the election result and thousands of his hard-core partisans camped in front of army headquarters in Brasilia for more than two months to demand a military coup to keep him in power.
As Lula’s Jan. 1 inauguration drew closer, Bolsonaro supporters rioted in major cities and police foiled a plot by rightists to detonate a fuel truck at the Brasilia airport.
The Bolsonaristas originally planned to stage an uprising on Jan. 1, “but they realized that they couldn’t because there were many police and many people in the street,” Lula told RedeTV, referring to the estimated 300,000 who flocked to Brasilia for the inauguration.
A week later, with Lula out of the capital surveying flood damage in another part of Brazil, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace in the hope that elements of the military would join them in toppling the new administration.
The Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into Bolsonaro’s possible role in the events of Jan. 8, but he remains in the United States, where he traveled on Dec. 30.
In the interview with RedeTV, Lula said that Bolsonaro “must answer for those crimes.”
The excerpts were published hours after Sen. Marcos do Val, a Bolsonaro ally, said that the former president tried to recruit him for a coup against Lula. EFE mp/dr