’Mega-protesto” by Bolsonaro supporters to follow invasion of Congress, Supreme Court and Palacio do Planalto fizzles


The call for a fresh uprising on Wednesday sparked concern that the crackdown hadn’t damped the will of radicals. Among those who vowed to continue struggling is Daniel Bressan, 35, who travelled some 300 miles from the interior of Parana state to join Sunday’s protest in Brasilia. He was detained by police the next morning, though he denies participating in any of the vandalism.

“A lot of people are going to be afraid to go to the streets and be arrested — I myself fear persecution by the legal system — but I’m not going to stop fighting and I’m not going to get discouraged,” Bressan said by phone from the federal police’s temporary holding centre. “I’m ready for everything. Our freedom is worth more than our lives.”

A military helicopter patrols the centre of the capital Brasilia during a protest announced by Bolsonaro supporters that didn’t eventuate.Credit:AP

Jailing rioters represents only part of the government’s effort to hold people responsible, with authorities also seeking to track down those who enabled the uprising. That includes organisers who summoned protesters to the capital and paid their way as well as local security personnel accused of either standing by and allowing the destruction to occur, or even cooperating.

Justice Minister Flávio Dino told local press this week that authorities had identified some of the protest’s financiers. He said they are based in the south and centre-west regions that Bolsonaro carried in the election. Without identifying individuals, he said they are members of the agribusiness sector, local business owners and people registered to own firearms.

Dino previously said the riot was apparently intended to spark a domino effect around the country. He has referred to the encampments that had been set up by Bolsonaro supporters outside military buildings to call on the armed forces to overturn election results as “incubators of terrorists”. Authorities cleared away the camps in Brasilia and other cities after the rioting.

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In November, the Supreme Court froze 43 bank accounts of people accused of having financed roadblocks that disrupted highway traffic in the wake of Lula’s victory. At least 30 were in the centre-west state of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top soybean producer.

Moraes, the Supreme Court justice, also ordered preventative detention for the men who were serving Sunday as head of the federal district’s security and military police chief, as well as searches of their residences. Both men have been fired since the rioting.

“Absolutely NOTHING justifies the omission and collusion of the security secretary and the military police commander,” de Moraes wrote in his decision, which was made public late Tuesday.

The justice also denounced the protest encampments sponsored by diverse financiers.

“There are strong indications that the conduct of criminal terrorists could only have occurred with the wilful participation or omission — which will be determined in these investigations — of the aforementioned public authorities,” Moraes wrote.

AP



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