Brazil: Noose tightens on rioters, Lula concerned about his safety

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Brazil: Noose tightens on rioters, Lula concerned for his safety

Security for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been reorganized at the presidential palace.

The Brazilian government tightened its grip on Thursday around the participants, organizers and sponsors of Sunday's riots in Brasilia, which prompted Lula to “deeply reorganize” his security at the presidential palace.

I am confident the door to Planalto Palace was opened for people to enter because no door was broken, left-wing leader said during his first breakfast with reporters since taking office January 1.

It means that someone facilitated their entry here, insisted Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. How could I have someone at my office door who could shoot me? he asked.

More than 4,000 supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro, who reject his electoral defeat to Lula in late October, wreaked havoc in the capital on Sunday, invading and ransacking the presidential palace, the Supreme Court and Congress.

Some 2,000 people were arrested and more than 1,100 were detained after being questioned, according to the latest official report.

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro vandalize a room in the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

And the noose continues to tighten, with many rioters being identified thanks to the surveillance cameras, press images or selfies they have published on social networks.

But the authorities' priority is now to sanction the networks that have worked behind the scenes to finance and organize the insurgency.

On Thursday, the office of the Advocate General of the Union (AGU), which defends the interests of the federal state, asked the courts of Brasilia to freeze 6.5 million reals ( approximately C$1.7 million) of 52 people and seven companies accused of financing the transport of rioters in about 100 buses that arrived from across the country on Saturday evening.

< p class="e-p">According to several Brazilian media, a large number of alleged sponsors are linked to the agribusiness sector, loyal support of Jair Bolsonaro.

Security forces regained control of the presidential palace hours after the riot began on Sunday.

The assessment of the considerable damage to national heritage, including works of art, was still ongoing. For the two houses of Congress alone, they amount to more than 1.5 million Canadian dollars, according to the first estimates made public by the government.

Thursday, Lula has multiplied meetings with his ministers, in an apparent concern to return to normality after the shock of this unprecedented attack on Brazilian democracy since the establishment of the military dictatorship (1964-1985).

On Wednesday evening, he participated in the induction of Anielle Franco, Minister for Racial Equality, and Sonia Guajajara, appointed head of the newly created Ministry of Indigenous Peoples. A highly symbolic ceremony, in one of the grand salons of the presidential palace of Planalto, which had been invaded by hordes of Bolsonarians three days earlier.

At the same time, security forces in the capital had been put on high alert after calls in all major cities in Brazil for mega-protests to regain power.

But calls made on social networks for a giant mobilization failed.

In the battered capital, where dozens of police, riot trucks and a helicopter had been deployed , no protester answered the call. The same observation was made in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo by AFP journalists.

Rioters tried to stand up to law enforcement at state buildings in Brasilia.

The Lula government acted quickly to contain the groups that were organizing on Sunday and many [Bolsonarists] demobilized for fear of being arrested, explained to the ;AFP Guilherme Casaroes, professor of political science at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

The insurrectionary movement found little echo among the population: a poll published on Tuesday evening by the benchmark institute Datafolha showed that 93% of Brazilians condemned the assault on places of power in Brasilia, even though it was approved by one in five people, according to another survey Opinion from Atlas Intelligence .

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