Brazilian Authorities Arrested the Rioters. Now They Are Arresting Safety Officers.

BRASÍLIA — Brazilian authorities on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 2 authorities safety officers, zeroed in on folks suspected of funding this week’s violent protests and requested a federal courtroom to freeze the belongings of the far-right former president, Jair Bolsonaro, a broad growth of the investigation into the invasion of Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court docket and presidential workplaces by protesters on Sunday.

The strikes confirmed that, a day after arresting lots of of individuals suspected of collaborating in Sunday’s riot in Brazil’s capital, Brasília, the nation’s high officers have now turned their focus to the political and enterprise elites suspected of inspiring, organizing or aiding the rioters.

Alexandre de Moraes, a Brazilian Supreme Court docket justice, issued the warrants for the 2 safety officers, together with Anderson Torres, the person successfully in control of safety for the capital, in response to a request by the federal police.

Mr. Moraes, a controversial determine who has been accused of severely overstepping his authority, stated that investigators had proof that the officers knew violence was brewing however did nothing to cease it. He stated that they had been beneath investigation for terrorism, prison affiliation and offenses associated to the violent overthrow of democracy.

Individually on Tuesday, a high public prosecutor requested a federal courtroom to freeze the belongings of Mr. Bolsonaro in relation to the investigation into the riots, although his workplace declined to elucidate why.

The protesters invaded the federal government buildings beneath the false perception that October’s presidential election, which Mr. Bolsonaro misplaced, was rigged, their actions spurred partially due to his yearslong efforts to undermine the citizens’s religion in Brazil’s election methods.

The request to freeze Mr. Bolsonaro’s belongings is now within the arms of a decide, however it’s unclear whether or not the courtroom has the authorized energy to dam his accounts. And freezing belongings, even when it weren’t challenged in courtroom, might show a prolonged and complicated course of.

Authorities are additionally anticipated to take motion towards greater than 100 firms thought to have helped the protesters, together with many believed to have transported rioters to the capital or to have offered them with free meals and shelter, in keeping with Brazilian media studies.

Brazil’s new justice minister, Flávio Dino, stated authorities investigators had zeroed in on firms in at the very least 10 states that had been suspected of getting helped finance the riots. Authorities had been searching for arrest warrants for “individuals who didn’t come to Brasília, however who participated within the crime, who’re organizers, financiers,” Mr. Dino stated on Tuesday.

Each Mr. Dino and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have stated that they consider distinguished gamers within the nation’s highly effective agriculture business, which largely backed Mr. Bolsonaro within the election, performed a job.

“These folks had been there as we speak, the agribusiness,” Mr. Lula stated after the assaults, including that “all these folks can be investigated, discovered, and can be punished.”

The strikes highlighted the rising scope of the hunt to establish the ideological, logistical and monetary architects of Sunday’s chaos, the worst assault on Brazil’s establishments since a navy dictatorship led to 1985.

Many individuals who participated within the riots had been camped out for weeks exterior the Military headquarters in Brasília, espousing the false declare that October’s election was stolen and calling for the navy to step in. Navy and impartial consultants discovered no credible proof of voter fraud within the election, during which Mr. Lula, a leftist former president, defeated Mr. Bolsonaro. Mr. Lula took workplace on Jan. 1.

Whereas Mr. Bolsonaro had for years asserted, with out proof, that Brazil’s election methods had been suffering from fraud, after the election he approved the transition of energy to Mr. Lula. Mr. Bolsonaro, who has been in america since earlier than the inauguration, criticized the rioters on Sunday, saying that peaceable demonstrations had been a part of democracy however the “destruction and invasions of public buildings” was not.

Within the wake of the riot, investigators are grappling with troublesome questions on why rioters had been capable of enter federal authorities buildings so simply — and whether or not safety authorities had been blindsided, negligent or one way or the other complicit.

Some officers have been fast to position a lot of the blame on Mr. Torres, who served as Mr. Bolsonaro’s justice minister earlier than turning into the safety chief of the Federal District, a small province that features Brasília, on Jan. 2. That place made him largely in control of the safety plans for the protest on Sunday.

But upon taking the brand new job, Mr. Torres shortly dismissed a number of key officers in his employees after which left for a trip to Florida, leaving him out of the state throughout Sunday’s protests, in keeping with Ricardo Cappelli, who has briefly changed Mr. Torres beneath an emergency decree signed by Mr. Lula.

In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper O Globo on Tuesday, Mr. Cappelli stated that within the days forward of the massive deliberate protests on Sunday, Mr. Torres assured the federal authorities that his workforce was in management.

“What reached us was data saying that all the things was high-quality, that the demonstration could be peaceable and that the troops would assure it,” he stated.

In feedback to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Cappelli accused Mr. Torres of purposefully “sabotaging” the safety across the protests. As quickly as Mr. Torres took over on Jan. 2, he stated, “Chaos ensues. Coincidence? I don’t assume so.”

Federal officers have additionally stated that, throughout a planning assembly two days earlier than the protests, Mr. Torres and different officers promised a much more sturdy safety presence through the demonstrations than what they delivered.

State officers have stated they accepted accountability for the failures, however haven’t defined why safety was gentle, regardless of warnings of the opportunity of violent protests.

Mr. Torres stated on Twitter that he would reduce his trip brief and return to Brazil to defend himself. “I’ve at all times guided my actions with ethics and legality. I consider within the Brazilian justice system and within the energy of the establishments. I’m sure that the reality will prevail,” he stated.

Mr. Torres has lengthy been an in depth ally of Mr. Bolsonaro. As the previous president’s justice minister, Mr. Torres was a key participant within the assaults towards Brazil’s digital voting machines. In July 2021, Mr. Bolsonaro introduced that he would lay out his full case on why Brazil’s election system was rife with fraud. In a subsequent two-hour livestream, Mr. Torres sat subsequent to him and introduced movies claiming to point out how voting machines might be hacked, which safety consultants later debunked.

Responding to requests from the federal police, Mr. Moraes issued warrants for the arrest of Mr. Torres and Fabio Augusto Vieira, the chief of the Federal District’s police. Mr. Moraes stated the arrests had been needed to guard the investigation, stopping the suspects from destroying proof or intimidating witnesses.

Brazil’s solicitor common additionally issued a request for Mr. Torres’s arrest, whereas one other high federal prosecutor requested to freeze his belongings. That prosecutor additionally requested to freeze the belongings of the Federal District’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, who has additionally been accused of permitting insufficient safety through the protests.

Hours after the riots concluded, Mr. Moraes suspended Mr. Rocha from his job as governor for at the very least 90 days.

Mr. Moraes, a Supreme Court docket justice who can also be Brazil’s elections chief, has develop into one of many nation’s strongest officers lately after his fellow justices expanded his authority to fight what they name an uncommon risk to Brazil’s democracy posed by Mr. Bolsonaro and his supporters.

Within the run as much as final 12 months’s election, Mr. Moraes and fellow justices jailed a number of of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters with out trial for threatening Brazilian officers or establishments, and Mr. Moraes has pressured tech firms to droop the accounts of dozens of distinguished right-wing voices.

Some on Brazil’s proper have criticized the aggressive response to the riots, saying Mr. Moraes and different officers are overstepping their authority. Hamilton Mourão, a former Military common who was Mr. Bolsonaro’s vice chairman, criticized what he referred to as “indiscriminate detention” of individuals suspected of collaborating within the riots. The crackdown, he wrote on social media, “exhibits that the brand new authorities, in step with its Marxist-Leninist roots, acts in an amateurish, inhumane and unlawful method.”

By Tuesday, the police had arrested 727 folks in reference to the riots and had been nonetheless questioning lots of of others, the federal police stated in an announcement. Some 599 individuals who had been detained for questioning had been launched from custody.

Many rioters filmed themselves and others as they invaded the federal government buildings, giving authorities a physique of proof to construct a case. Augusto de Arruda Botelho, Brazil’s justice secretary, stated the police had additionally collected DNA samples and fingerprints from the buildings.

Flávia Milhorance and Yan Boechat contributed reporting.