Bolsonaro faces investigation for inspiring Brazil’s capital riot

By | January 15, 2023

The New York Times reports:

As the bus made its way from Brazil’s agricultural heartland to the capital, Andrea Barth pulled out her phone to ask fellow passengers, one by one, what they intended to do once they arrived.

“Overthrow the thieves,” one man replied.

“Take out ‘Nine-Finger,’” said another, referring to Brazil’s leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who lost part of a finger decades ago in a factory accident.

“You might escape a lightning strike,” another man said, as if confronting Mr. Lula himself. “But you won’t escape me.”

As the passengers described their plans for violence, more than a hundred other buses bulging with supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right former president, were also descending on Brasília, the capital.

A day later, on Jan. 8, a pro-Bolsonaro mob unleashed mayhem that shocked the country and was broadcast around the world. Rioters invaded and ransacked Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential offices, intending, many of them said, to spur military leaders to topple Mr. Lula, who had taken office just a week earlier.

The chaotic attack bore an unsettling resemblance to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol: Hundreds of right-wing protesters, claiming an election was rigged, stomping through the halls of power.

Each episode rattled one of the world’s largest democracies, and almost two years to the day after the U.S. attack, last Sunday’s assault showed that far-right extremism, inspired by antidemocratic leaders and fed by conspiracy theories, remains a grave threat. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports:

Brazil’s Supreme Court said it would investigate former president Jair Bolsonaro for inspiring the far-right mob that invaded and ransacked the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential offices this week, a swift escalation in the probe that shows the former leader could soon face legal consequences for an extremist movement that he helped build.

In a decision late Friday, Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court justice, approved a request from federal prosecutors to include Mr. Bolsonaro in a rapidly expanding investigation into the anti-democratic riots on Jan. 8.

Mr. Moraes, who has emerged as one of the nation’s most powerful — and controversial — figures in recent months, said that Mr. Bolsonaro’s past questioning of Brazil’s election system and his attacks on Brazil’s institutions, including the Supreme Court, “may have contributed, in a very relevant way, to the occurrence of criminal and terrorist acts,” including Sunday’s storming of government buildings. [Continue reading…]

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