‘No amnesty!’: Brazil protests demand jailing for rioters

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — “No amnesty! No amnesty! No amnesty!”

The tune echoed from the walls of the crowded halls of St. Paul’s University Law School on Monday afternoon. Within hours, thousands of Brazilians flooded the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, writing it out on protest posters and banners.

The words were a call for vengeance against supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro who attacked the Brazilian capital on Sunday and those who facilitated the atrocity.

“These people need to be punished, the people who ordered it need to be punished, the people who paid for it need to be punished,” said Betty Amin, a 61-year-old therapist on a main road in São Paulo. The word “democracy” is across the back of her shirt. “They don’t represent Brazil. We represent Brazil.”

Protesters’ push for accountability brings back memories of amnesty law For decades, the group has protected servicemen accused of torture and murder during the country’s 1964-85 dictatorship. A 2014 truth commission report sparked debate about how Brazil was responding to the regime’s legacy.

Refusing to accept punishment “could avoid the current tension, but the will exacerbate instability.” “This is the lesson we should learn from the end of the military dictatorship, when Brazil chose not to punish the regime’s killers and torturers.”

On the same day, Brazilian police arrested about 1,500 rioters. Some were caught vandalizing Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace. Most were detained at a camp in Brasilia the next morning. Many were held at the stadium throughout the day, and videos shared on pro-Bolsonaro social media channels showed some complaining about being poorly treated in the crowded space.

Nearly 600 elderly, sick, homeless or mothers with children were released Tuesday after being questioned and their phones checked, federal police said in a statement. Its press office previously told The Associated Press that the force planned to prosecute at least 1,000 people. As of Tuesday afternoon, 527 people had been transferred to detention centers or prisons.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government says jailing rioters is only the beginning.

Justice Minister Flávio Dino has vowed to prosecute those behind the scenes of rallying supporters on social media and funding their campaigns on charges of involvement in organized crime, staging a coup and violently dismantling the democratic rule of law. transportation. Authorities are also investigating allegations that local security agents allowed the destruction to continue unabated.

“We cannot and will not compromise our compliance with our legal obligations,” Dino said. “This realization is essential so that such incidents do not recur.”

Lula signed a decree now approved by both houses of Congress ordering the federal government to take over security in the capital.

The far right refuses to accept Bolsonaro’s electoral defeat. Since his October. After their defeat on the 30th, they camped outside their military camp in Brasília, pleading for intervention to keep Bolsonaro in power and depose Lula. When the coup failed to materialize, they rose up themselves.

Draped in green and yellow flags, they smashed windows, toppled furniture and threw computers and printers on the ground. They punched holes in a massive Emiliano Di Cavalcanti painting in the presidential palace and destroyed other works of art. They toppled a U-shaped table where Supreme Court justices convene, tore out the door of a judge’s office and vandalized a statue outside the courthouse. Several hours passed before the police cleared the mob.

“What happened yesterday is unacceptable. This is terrorism,” Marcelo Menezes, a 59-year-old police officer from northeastern Pernambuco state, said at a protest in Sao Paulo. “I’m here to defend democracy, I’m here to defend the people.”

The cries of “No amnesty!” were also heard during Lula’s January. 1 inaugural address in response to an oversight detailed by the President The outgoing Bolsonaro government.

Former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, nostalgic for the authoritarian era, hailed a notorious torturer as a hero and said the regime should go further by executing communists.His government also commemorated the anniversary Or the 1964 coup in Brazil.

Political analysts have repeatedly warned that Bolsonaro is laying the groundwork for a Jan. 12 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 62021. For months, he convinced die-hard supporters that the nation’s electronic voting system was prone to fraud—even though he never provided any evidence and independent experts disagreed.

The election, the closest it has been since Brazil returned to democracy, was quickly endorsed by politicians across the spectrum, including some Bolsonaro allies, as well as dozens of other governments.The outgoing president’s swift fading from view has surprised almost everyone, neither throwing in the towel nor shouting fraud.He and his party made a plea to cancel millions of votesquickly dismissed by electoral authorities.

None of this has stopped his diehard supporters from believing that Bolsonaro should remain in power.

Immediately after the unrest, Lula said that so-called “fascist fanatics” and their economic backers must be held accountable. He also accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the uprising.

Bolsonaro on Sunday denied the president’s allegations. Peaceful protests are part of democracy, but vandalism and intrusion into public buildings cross the line, he wrote on Twitter.

Authorities are also investigating the role of federal district police in failing to stop protesters from advancing or standing by and allowing them to rampage. Prosecutors in the capital said local security forces were at least negligent. A Supreme Court judge suspended the magistrate who oversaw the force, citing what he called “willful negligence”, and issued warrants for the preventive arrest and searches of the homes of the former heads of the security secretariat and gendarmerie.

Another judge accused Brazilian authorities of not being quick to crack down on “indigenous neo-fascism”.

The unrest eventually prompted city and state governments to disperse the pro-Bolsonaro camp outside the military camp. Their tents and tarps were dismantled and residents sent away.

At the same time, pro-democracy protesters want to make sure their message — “No amnesty!” — will be heeded by law enforcement authorities and any far-right elements who might dare challenge democracy yet again.

“After what happened yesterday, we need to take to the streets,” said Marcos Gama, a retiree who protested in Sao Paulo on Monday night. “We need to respond.”

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Associated Press video reporter Melo reported from Sao Paulo. Associated Press writer Carla Bridi is from El Salvador.

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