New police raids in Brazil target January 8 government rioters

September 27, 2023

Federal police in Brazil said Wednesday they were carrying out a new round of raids and arrests related to the January 8 insurrection in the capital, Brasilia.

Then-newly elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva vowed to punish supporters of ex-leader Jair Bolsonaro who had stormed the Brazilian congress on that day. Police had only gained control of the group of buildings after hours of violent clashes. Initially arresting some 300 people, authorities had vowed to track down others involved.

The riots came about a week after Lula was sworn in as Brazil’s President, having returned to power following a 12-year hiatus. He had defeated Bolsonaro in a run-off election in October 2022.

Bolsonaro denounced the rioters’ actions, saying on January 8 that while peaceful and lawful demonstrations were part of democracy, “depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule.”

According to a police statement Wednesday, authorities were serving three arrest warrants and 10 search-and-seizure warrants ordered by the Brazilian Supreme Court in four states: Sao Paulo, Parana, Minas Gerais and Goias.

Police did not disclose the names on Wednesday of those targeted in the raids, but said they were being investigated for crimes of “violent abolition of the rule of law, coup d’état, qualified damage, criminal association, incitement, destruction and damage of specially protected property.

Earlier this month, Brazil’s Supreme Court voted to convict the first three people to stand trial for the riots, sentencing each of them to 14 or more years in prison.

Bolsonaro has also faced congressional inquiry related to the insurrection, as well as a number of police investigations overseen by the Brazilian Supreme Court.

In June, Brazil’s federal election court barred Bolsonaro from public office until 2030 for his conduct amid the 2022 election, during which he asserted unfounded claims of fraud about the country’s electronic voting system.

PHOTO: Protesters storm Brazil government buildings, January 8 2023

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