Lula’s team vows peaceful inauguration amid threat from Brazilian right

Brasilia, Dec 27 (EFE).- Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s transition team said Tuesday that his Jan. 1 inauguration will be peaceful despite “terrorist” threats from supporters of outgoing right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who has yet to acknowledge his defeat in the Oct. 30 runoff.

“Small terrorist groups are not going to block Brazilian democracy. They don’t have space, they will not have space. They did not win, they shall not win,” Justice Minister-designate Flavio Dino told a press conference in Brasilia.

Concerns about security for the New Year’s Day inauguration have increased following last weekend’s discovery in the capital of a fuel truck rigged with explosives.

Police arrested a man who admitted that he planned to detonate the truck bomb at Brasilia’s airport.

The suspect also admitted to having made numerous visits to Bolsonaro partisans who have spent the last two months camped outside army headquarters urging the military to stop Lula from returning to the office he held from 2003-2011.

Brazil’s generals have ignored the calls for a coup and the aim of the planned bombing, according to the suspect, was “to sew chaos” in hopes of forcing the military to intervene.

The commanders of the police and military “are committed to democracy” and the security forces will mount a “total mobilization” to guarantee peace next Sunday, Dino said.

Seventeen heads of state and government are due to attend Lula’s inauguration, including Spain’s King Felipe VI and the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Germany and Portugal.

And some 300,000 ordinary Brazilians are expected to turn out for the celebration prepared by the transition team, featuring a concert with dozens of popular performers.

“When a citizen plants a bomb that can destroy an airplane with hundreds of people we are entering the realm of terrorism,” future Defense Minister Jose Mucio said at the same news conference.

While expressing confidence that the Bolsonaro supporters gathered at army barracks will drift away on their own volition in the coming days, Mucio said that if they don’t, the new government is prepared to resort to whatever measures it deems necessary to disperse them.

Lula, the 77-year-old founder of the Workers Party, picked the man he defeated in the 2006 election, centrist Geraldo Alckmin, as his running mate to broaden his base for the contest with Bolsonaro, an outspoken admirer of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime. EFE


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