Brazil's Supreme Court to probe Bolsonaro after rioters attack government buildings

Protestors attacked Congress a week ago. Credit: AP

Brazil’s Supreme Court has agreed to investigate whether former president Jair Bolsonaro incited the far-right mob that ransacked the country’s Congress, top court and presidential offices a week ago.

Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on the roofs, broke windows and invaded all three buildings, which are connected through the vast Three Powers square in Brasilia.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes granted a request from the prosecutor general's office to include Bolsonaro in the wider investigation, citing a video the former president posted on Facebook two days after the riot.

Some of Bolsonaro's supporters had called for military intervention to reinstate him. Credit: AP

In the video, he claimed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wasn't voted into office, but rather was chosen by the Supreme Court and Brazil's electoral authority.

Although Bolsonaro posted the video after the riot and deleted it in the morning, prosecutors argued its content was sufficient to justify investigating his conduct beforehand.

Otherwise, Bolsonaro has not commented on the election since his defeat. He repeatedly stoked doubt about the reliability of the electronic voting system in the run-up to the vote, filed a request afterward to annul millions of ballots cast using the machines and never conceded.

None of the ex-president’s claims were proved, and the results of the election were recognised as legal by different politicians, including some Bolsonaro allies, and several foreign governments.

He has been living in Florida since leaving Brazil in late December and skipping the swearing-in of his successor. Some US politicians have been calling for his visa to be removed.

Following the justice’s decision late Friday, Bolsonaro’s lawyer Frederick Wassef said in a statement that the former president “vehemently repudiates the acts of vandalism and destruction” but blamed supposed “infiltrators” of the protest for the disorder.

The statement added that Bolsonaro “never had any relationship or participation with these spontaneous social movements.”

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