BRASILIA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Supporters of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro tried to invade the federal police headquarters in the capital Brasilia on Monday, as the defeat in the presidential election was confirmed. The post-election violence that took place that day.
Reuters witnesses saw Bolsonaro supporters, many wearing their signature yellow national football jerseys or draped in Brazilian flags, confront security forces at police headquarters. Police fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Nearby buses and cars were set ablaze.
The federal police said it was dealing with “disturbance” near its headquarters, backed by security forces in the capital.
The violence began after a Bolsonaro supporter was detained on suspicion of organizing violent “anti-democratic acts,” according to the judge who ordered Bolsonaro’s arrest.
Earlier on Monday, the Federal Electoral Court (TSE) certified the Oct. 30 election victory of Bolsonro’s leftist rival, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as president. After months of baseless suggestions that Brazil’s voting system was vulnerable to fraud, Bolsonaro has neither conceded defeat to Lula nor formally blocked the transfer of power.
But some of the president’s most diehard supporters blocked highways in protest and camped out in front of military camps, calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking power.
Hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters gathered outside the presidential residence on Monday afternoon, holding banners calling for “military intervention”. The president joined them in public prayers but did not address the crowd.
“There will be no inauguration,” said Jose Trindade, 58, one of Bolsonaro’s supporters in the crowd. “Bolsonaro was re-elected, but they stole it. So only the army can put things in order.”
Conspiracy theories and subsequent violence have revived memories of the January 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump. It also raised security concerns about Lula’s inauguration at a public ceremony in Brasilia on Jan. 1.
Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, a key Lula aide, said there were concerns about the physical safety of Lula and Vice President-elect Geraldo Alckmin, as protesters had surrounded the hotel where he is staying in Brasilia. Reports of a helicopter being taken away from the hotel.
Public security officials in Brasilia said they had secured the area around the Lula Hotel and urged motorists to avoid the city center where many roads have been closed.
The violence in Brasilia came as Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is leading an investigation into Bolsonaro and his allies, ordered the provisional arrest of Jose Acacio Se on Monday. José Acácio Serere Xavante, suspected of anti-democratic acts.
Indigenous leader Xavante was among Bolsonaro supporters who opposed the October 30 election results.
“I cannot accept criminals ruling Brazil,” Xavante tweeted last month. “Lula could not be authenticated.”
Last week, Bolsonaro broke weeks of post-election silence by saying his situation “hurts my soul”.
“It’s you who decides where I go. It’s you who decides which way the armed forces go,” Bolsonaro told his supporters at the gate of the presidential palace on Friday.
In a statement, the Supreme Court said Moraes “ordered the provisional arrest of indigenous José Acacio Cerere Jawan “on the basis of evidence of threats, persecution and violence against the democratic rule of law.” Especially 10 days.”
It said Xavante had led protests across Brasilia and had used “his position as chief of the Xavante people to recruit indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to commit crimes,” threatening Lula and Supreme Court judges.
Xavante had “expressly summoned armed people to prevent the certification of elected” politicians, the statement added.
Reporting by Ueslei Marcelino and Victor Borges; Additional reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello and Carolina Pulice; Editing by Leslie Adler and Stephen Coates
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