Brazil defense minister says military not involved in riots

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President Lula had said he suspected collusion by armed forces in the January 8 riots, questioning if he could trust military personnel with his personal security.

Brazil’s Defense Minister Jose Mucio said on Friday that the country’s armed forces were not directly involved in the January 8 riots in Brasilia.

The unrest erupted when supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings, calling for a military intervention to overthrow elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“I understand that there was no direct armed forces involvement, but if any element participated, they will have to answer as citizens,” Mucio said after a meeting between Lula and the chiefs of the army, navy and air force.

Following the first meeting between Lula and the chiefs of the armed forces, Mucio said that the storming of government building would not happen again “because the armed forces will anticipate it.”

Lula suspects inside help

Last week, Lula said he suspected there had been collusion by “people in the armed forces” in the January 8 riots and questioned if he could trust military personnel with his personal security.

Lula had said he ordered a “thorough review” of staff at the presidential palace.

Later, the president’s office announced that federal police would replace army officers from his security details.

What happened on January 8?

More than 4,000 Bolsonaro supporters caused havoc in Brasilia, storming the National Congress building and causing massive damage. The rioters also ransacked presidential offices and clashed with the police.

The supporters of the former president refused to accept that the populist autocrat lost his bid for reelection, claiming the election was stolen.

They called for the military to stage a coup and overthrow Lula.

Since then, more than 2,000 people have been arrested. 

Bolsonaro, who is currently in Florida, is being investigated on suspicion of fueling the raids.

Source: DW