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On Saturday night (24), the Civil Police arrested a man suspected of having tried to blow up a fuel truck near Brasília International Airport. According to media sources, the police investigation points to a connection between the suspect and the group of demonstrators who are camped in front of the Army headquarters in the federal capital demanding a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office. The event, associated to 12 December Riots, indicate high chances of incidents during Lula’s inauguration on 1 January.
Civil Police stated that the arrested man, identified as George Sousa, claims to be a supporter of Jair Bolsonaro and that he has taken part of acts in front of the Army headquarters in the capital. Sousa would have placed a box with a small dynamite with a timer inside the truck carrying fuel to blow it. The truck driver noticed the object and decided to call the police.
On Saturday night (24), Sousa said in a statement to the Civil Police that he planned with demonstrators from the HQ (General Headquarters) in the Army to install explosives in at least two locations in the federal capital to “start the chaos” that would lead to the “declaration of a state of siege in the country”, which could “cause the intervention of the Armed Forces”.
Weapons and Ammunition
Sousa said that, after the second round of the elections, he started to participate in protests in Pará in support of Bolsonaro and against the result of the elections. On 12 November, he went to Brasília with two shotguns, two .357 caliber revolvers, three pistols, two Glocks and one CZ Shadow, a .308 caliber Springfield rifle, more than a thousand rounds of ammunition various calibers and five sticks of dynamite. According to him, the only item he did not have a license to “own” were the dynamites. The suspect also stated that he did not have a weapons transport permit.
The number of firearms in the hands of CACs reached 1 million in July this year. The increase was 187% compared to 2018. The elected government announced the revocation of presidential decrees that facilitated the population’s access to weapons and the lack of control over the circulation of these products in the country.
Lula’s Inauguration and Fears of Attacks
On 1 January, will feature a series of concerts, an open car parade and, according to the transition team’s forecast, around 300,000 people in the area. Lula’s safety in this event has been the subject of debates during the transition period, with fears that the GSI (Institutional Security Office), now commanded by General Augusto Heleno, will not carry out effective work in protecting the President-elect.
Faced with this scenario, the PT decided to withdraw the personal security of the elected president from the GSI military and transfer responsibility to the PF (Federal Police). Federal Police Chief Alexsander Castro Oliveira will be responsible for the work.
The incident on 12 December, the attempted bomb attack against a truck associated to the continuing protests and chances of direct dispersion of the demonstrators indicate a risky scenario with real chance of incidents in the capital, particularly during Lula’s inauguration. In case of any trip to Brasília, people must follow the recommendations below.
- While in Brasília, people must reduce displacements as much as possible
- Avoid areas near the rally zones and the streets used by the participants to reach their gathering point
- In Brasília, areas near buildings belonging to the Federal administration are critical, particularly: the Palácio do Planalto (Presidential Palace), the Esplanada dos Ministérios, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the Congress, the Federal Supreme Court (STF), and the Army HQ
- Anticipate traffic disruptions close to rally locations and plan additional time for long and short trips
- Do not engage in political debates, or mention any opinion about the topic
- Avoid wearing red shirts or the Brazilian jersey, as they might be interpreted as an indication of political affiliation
- In addition to the Tserere’s arrest, Monday (12/11) was a critical day politically. It was when the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) officially recognized the victory of Lula’s ticket, by giving the future President and his vice, Geraldo Alckmin, certificates. Events like these can further incite radical groups to act violently. 1 January is likely the most critical day. This is the day when Lula is expected to take office