(Brasilia) The far-right former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was heard on Wednesday by the federal police on his role in the riots that took place on January 8, a week after Lula’s inauguration in Brasilia, and in which he has always denied any involvement.
Arrived at the premises of the federal police in a vehicle with tinted windows, Jair Bolsonaro, 68, made no statement, AFP noted.
On January 8, when hordes of Bolsonarists ransacked places of power in Brasilia, the former head of state was in Orlando, United States.
He left Brazil on December 30, two days before the end of his mandate and the entry into office of his left-wing successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The latter had beaten him by a short head in the presidential election two months earlier, a victory that Mr. Bolsonaro never recognized.
Refusing the return of the left to power, thousands of individuals stormed the Presidential Palace on January 8, but also the Congress and the Supreme Court.
The attackers had easily breached the security cordon to destroy everything in their path, including priceless works of art.
This episode, which had shaken Brazilian democracy, had led Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes on January 13 to open an investigation into the possible involvement of Jair Bolsonaro.
The former army captain has consistently denied playing any role in the riots that led to more than 1,800 arrests and recalled the January 2021 invasion of the United States Capitol in Washington by supporters of ex-president Donald Trump.
But the prosecution notably noted a video posted on January 10, two days after these riots, by Jair Bolsonaro, challenging the results of Lula’s election.
A parliamentary commission of inquiry is to be set up soon in Congress to try to clarify the many gray areas concerning January 8 in Brasilia, in particular the security flaws that allowed the attackers to access places of power so easily.
Returning from the United States at the end of March, Jair Bolsonaro had already spent about three hours on April 5 at the federal police headquarters in Brasilia, as part of the case of jewelry offered by the Saudi government and illegally entered Brazil.
A source close to the former president had indicated that Mr. Bolsonaro had denied to the investigators having committed any crime and that he had not known of the jewels seized until December 2022.
She also explained that subsequent efforts to return the jewelry were intended to avoid “diplomatic vexations,” given the possibility that these high-value gifts from the Saudi state would eventually be auctioned off.
It was the first time that Mr. Bolsonaro had appeared before the police as an ex-president.
He is also targeted by 16 investigations by the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and could be sentenced to eight years of ineligibility, which would prevent him from running for president in 2026.