Brazil Launches Formal Investigation Of Bolsonaro, Arrests His Justice Minister, Over Riots

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Jan 14, 2023 - 06:15 PM

In a move that was entirely to be expected given that Brazil's new far left leadership has been railing against massive pro-Bolsonaro, anti-Lula protesters as "terrorists" - Brazil's Supreme Court on Friday ordered a formal investigation of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been living outside the country, in Orlando, Florida.

Though the Biden White House after days of speculation has repeatedly underscored it has yet received no extradition request for Bolsonaro, there have been growing calls among US progressive lawmakers to cancel his visa and boot him from the United States.

Via Reuters

New left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his top officials have pointed the finger at the man popularly dubbed 'Brazil's Donald Trump' for stoking election denial and fueling riots in the country, most notably last week's storming of Brazil's Congress building and other facilities.

Bolsonaro supporters, who have alleged widespread election fraud, have also held frequent protests outside military facilities, demanding that the armed forces intervene to overthrow a 'false election'.

The Oct.30 election, which was the second round, saw Lula take 50.9% of the vote against Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. The closeness of the results sparked anger and unrest among pro-Bolsonaro crowds.

Estimates of those arrested for breaking into Brazilian Congress on Jan.8 range from 700 to over 1,300 - with authorities reportedly continuing to investigate those who trespassed on the federal property.

And now the ratcheting rhetoric and legal case being built against Bolsonaro could possibly result in his own arrest if he were to return home to Brazil, given that his minister of justice has just been arrested

Brazil’s former Minister of Justice and Public Security Anderson Torres, who was in charge of security in Brasilia during the invasion of government buildings last week, has been arrested on suspicion of “omission” and “connivance”.

Torres, who was former right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s justice minister, was arrested after returning to Brazil on Saturday after a vacation in Florida, the same US state that Bolsonaro had travelled to after losing the election to current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The new justice minister, Flavio Dino, had issued an ultimatum last week: Torres could either return of his own will or face formal extradition proceedings. Torres days later returned to Brazil to hand himself in, where he's expected to fight the charges.

All of this is seen as part of the Lula government's war to root out "Bolsonaristas" as they see the movement as a threat to Brazil's democracy, and many are saying it has parallels to Jan.6 in the US.