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Brazil: Police raid Bolsonaro supporters' homes, offices

June 16, 2020

Brazilian federal police have raided supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro accused by prosecutors of funding "anti-democratic" activities. The raids follow the arrest of an affiliated far-right activist.

Bolsonaro waves to his supporters at one of the recent protests in his support, opposing coronavirus health restrictions and recent developments against Bolsonaro in Brazil's Supreme Court. Archive image from May 17, 2020.
Image: Reuters/A. Machado

Among those targeted early Tuesday were federal lawmaker Daniel Silveira and conservative blogger Allan dos Santos as part of a probe into the financing of anti-democratic rallies, Reuters reported.

Brazilian media giant Globo said the search and confiscation warrants were issued by Brazil's PGR prosecutions office and authorized by Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes.

Tuesday's sweep, reportedly in six cities, follow an incident last week when a small far-right group of the president's supporters, known as 300 do Brasil (300 from Brazil), tried to invade Congress in Brazil's capital, before security intervened.

Read more:  Brazilian President Bolsonaro sides with anti-democracy protesters

Brasilia zone closed off

On Saturday, Brasilia's governor, Ibaneis Rocha, closed the zone around Congress, the Supreme Court, ministries and presidential palace to prevent repeat occurrences.

On Monday, police arrested Sara Winter, leader of the radical group whose real name is Giromini, who recently posted a video threatening de Moraes and reportedly led the attempted Congress break-in.

In recent weeks, Bolsonaro's supporters had challenged coronavirus lockdowns and called for military intervention against Congress and the Supreme Court.

Last month, group members held a torch-bearing march outside court buildings.

Denier of coronavirus impact

The hard-line former army captain's confrontations with the institutions comes as Brazil suffers the worst COVID-19 outbreak outside the United States in terms of gross numbers. 

Bolsonaro has drawn severe criticism for sidelining medical specialists, challenging social distancing orders (the responsibility for which rests with his regional governors) and minimizing the severity of the pandemic. He's lost two health ministers during the course of the pandemic, firing one while another quit in protest.

Read more:  Supreme Court rules Brazil must share virus data

ipj/msh (Reuters, dpa)

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