responds to Brazil riot allegations


Former president said “peaceful demonstrations” are part of democracy

Former Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro has denied any responsibility for the unrest that erupted in the capital Brasilia on Sunday after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accused his right-wing predecessor of filling the minds of his supporters with extremism.

“Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of law, are part of democracy. However, looting and invasions of public buildings such as those that took place today, as well as those by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule. Bolsonaro tweeted on Sunday night, after authorities regained control of government buildings seized by rioters earlier in the day.

“I reject, without evidence, the allegations attributed to me by the current head of Brazil’s executive branch,” Bolsonaro added, without mentioning Lula by name. The former leader left Brazil just days before the traditional swearing-in ceremony on January 1, rather than legitimizing the left party’s victory by showing up.

“This genocide… encourages this through social media from Miami,” Lula claimed in a televised address earlier on Sunday that he blamed what he described as the day of the day “unparalleled” violence against his nemesis. He vowed to make those responsible for the chaos “pay with the force of the law”, while you promise to get to the bottom of it “who are the financiers” of the riot.

On Sunday, a massive crowd of Bolsonaro supporters marched through the capital in yet another protest, reiterating claims that Brazil’s electronic voting system was open to fraud and other allegations of voting irregularities. After reaching the Three Powers Plaza, where all three branches of government are located, swarms of protesters stormed through barricades and captured Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential Planalto Palace.

As the mob wreaked havoc inside, authorities struggled to contain the unrest. The president, who was in Sao Paulo at the time, was forced to declare a state of emergency in the Federal District of Brasilia and appointed Justice Minister Ricardo Garcia Capelli to “federal intervention.”

On Sunday evening, after hours of clashes and hundreds of arrests, riot police managed to regain control of government buildings using tear gas and water cannons. Police announced that at least 300 people were detained as the justice minister warned arrests would continue through the night as authorities try to identify anyone involved in what he called an act of violence. “terrorism” and an attempt “coup.”

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