Brazil Supreme Court Friday agreed to open a probe into right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro for allegedly encouraging anti-democratic protests that led to storming of government buildings and rioting by his supporters in Brasilia on January 8, reported Reuters. “Public figures who continue to cowardly conspire against democracy trying to establish a state of exception will be held accountable,” said Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who agreed to the request by federal prosecutors to launch the probe.
The top public prosecutor’s office, in a statement said that Bolsonaro will be investigated for possible “instigation and intellectual authorship of the anti-democratic acts that resulted in vandalism and violence in Brasilia last Sunday.”
The Supreme Court had already ordered arrest for Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, Anderson Torres, for allowing the protests to take place in the Brazilian capital after he assumed responsibility for Brasilia’s public security.
On January 8, thousands of Bolsonaro’s supporters vandalised the Supreme Court, Congress, and Presidential palace seeking to provoke chaos and a military coup in a bid to oust President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and restore their far-right leader to power.
Having lost Brazil’s October election to Lula, Bolsonaro left Brazil for the United States on the eve of the end of his term, avoiding passing the presidential sash to his leftist rival at his inauguration. Like Bolsonaro, Torres who is also currently in Florida said that he planned to return to Brazil to turn himself in. Bolsonaro said on social media he will move forward with his return to Brazil.
Bolsonaro faces several investigations for anti-democratic statements he made as president, including repeated claims that the election system was open to fraud. PL party leaders now fear he will be held responsible for Sunday’s storming of government buildings.
While they do not think he will face arrest, they fear he could be declared ineligible to run in the 2026 election, the official aid, the Reuters report stated.