Tuesday Mar 21, 2023
Tuesday Mar 21, 2023

Brazil's President Lula sacks 40 guards for presidential residence riots

2023 Jan 18, 15:03, Brasilia
visual of the riots on January 8. (Photo Credit: ANI)

Expressing distrust in the military for failing to act against demonstrators that ransacked government buildings on January 8, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday (local time) removed 40 troops guarding the presidential residence, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

His decision was published in the government's official gazette and came as Brazil's prosecutor general charged 39 people who were among the thousands who stormed government buildings in an effort to overturn former president Jair Bolsonaro's loss in the October election.

Last week, Lula told reporters that security force members were complicit in letting a mob of supporters of far-right former leader Bolsonaro storm the main buildings that form the seat of power in Brasilia.

The president's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on who would replace the troops guarding the residence, reported SMH.

Most of the troops guarding the Alvorada palace, as the presidential residence is called, are from the army, but some are also members of the Navy, Air Force and a militarised police force.

Investigations into the rampage have begun to show apparently intentional lapses in security that allowed it to occur.

Several thousand Bolsonaro supporters stormed the Congress, the Planalto presidential palace and the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the result of the October election narrowly won by Lula.

"Many people were complicit in this among the military police. Many people from the armed forces were complicit," Lula told journalists. "I am convinced that the door to the palace was opened to allow these people in because I did not see that the door was broken."

Lula has also stepped up criticism of the army for not doing anything to discourage a two-month-old encampment of Bolsonaro supporters outside its headquarters, where they clamoured for the military to overturn the presidential election result, reported SMH.

More than a thousand people were arrested on the day of the January 8 riot, which bore strong similarities to January 6, 2021, riots at the US Congress by mobs who wanted to overturn former President Donald Trump's loss in November's election.

Those now charged are facing offences of armed criminal association, violent attempt to subvert the democratic state of law, staging a coup and damage to public property, the prosecutor-general's office said in a written statement Monday night. Their identities have not yet been released.

The attackers were not charged with terrorism because under Brazilian law such a charge must involve xenophobia or prejudice based on race, ethnicity or religion, reported SMH.

Prosecutors have also requested that the defendants who ransacked Congress be imprisoned as a preventive measure, and that 40 million reais (USD 11.2 million) of their assets be frozen to help cover damages.

The prosecutor-general's office sent its charges to the Supreme Court after the Senate's president, Rodrigo Pacheco, last week provided a list of people accused of rampaging through Congress. Additional rioters are expected to be charged, reported SMH.


stormed Gazette buildings President immediately Troops rampage Supreme Court Presidential arrested result Defendants rampaging
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