Thousands march to demand the prosecution of Brazil rioters

Thousands march to demand the prosecution of Brazil rioters
Demonstrators march holding a banner that reads in Portuguese “We are Democracy” during a protest calling for protection of the nation’s democracy in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, a day after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in the capital. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Brazil demanding the prosecution of rioters who stormed government buildings in support of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Calling for those responsible to be brought to justice, crowds chanting “No amnesty!” marched late Monday in a loud display of support for the country’s democracy, which came under attack Sunday.

The rallies came as Bolsonaro’s status faced growing scrutiny, with President Joe Biden being urged to remove him from the United States.

Bolsonaro said late Monday that he had been admitted to a hospital in Florida, posting a picture on Twitter from his hospital bed. In an interview with CNN Brasil, Bolsonaro said he “is well” and expected to be discharged in the coming days after being hospitalized with “abdominal pain.”

He suggested that he may return to Brazil sooner than he had planned.

“I came (to the U.S.) to stay until the end of the month (January), but I intend to bring forward my return,” he said, adding that doctors in Brazil were familiar with treating pain linked to a stabbing injury from 2018.

Brazilian security forces cleared protest camps Monday and arrested 1,500 people as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned
Former President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, in a hospital in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday.AFP – Getty Images

Bolsonaro had reportedly flown to the U.S. two days before his term expired on Jan 1, skipping the inauguration of his leftist rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as president. 

Lula swore to prosecute those involved in the assault on Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace and has directly accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the attacks — which carried unmistakable echoes of the riot at the U.S. Capitol two years ago.

Speaking later to the country’s governors, Lula, who returned to work at the ransacked presidential palace, stepped up his criticism of the Brazilian military for not taking swift action against those who had been camping outside their gates for months.

“People were openly calling for a coup outside the barracks, and nothing was done. No general lifted a finger to tell them they could not do that,” Lula said, accusing some security forces of being complicit with rioters.

Brazilian police said Monday that they had detained an estimated 1,500 people in connection with the insurrection, some of whom were arrested in a crackdown on pro-Bolsonaro protest camps in the capital, Brasilia.

But large crowds nonetheless sought to keep up the pressure for those involved to face retribution.

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