Bolsonaro Allies’ Homes Are Raided by Police Over Incitement
(Bloomberg) -- A Brazilian Supreme Court Justice targeted several outspoken allies of President Jair Bolsonaro, including a country singer and a lawmaker, for allegedly inciting attacks against the nation’s democracy.
Federal police raided the homes of popular singer Sergio Reis, congressman Otoni de Paula and eight others on Friday, as part of an investigation into their alleged attempt to stoke violent protests against Brazil’s top court and congress ahead of Sept. 7 Independence Day celebrations.
The search warrants were issued by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who also published restraining orders forbidding the suspects from getting near the top court and congress in Brasilia. The president fought back by delivering on his promise to request Moraes’s impeachment at the senate.
Tensions are brewing in the run-up to Independence Day amid talks that truckers, a key group of Bolsonaro allies, are planning to take to the streets of Brasilia in a show of support for the embattled president. The far-right leader is currently besieged by multiple criminal investigations examining his knowledge of irregularities in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and efforts to pour doubt on Brazil’s electronic voting system. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The moves are likely to worsen already icy relations between the Supreme Court and Bolsonaro, who has claimed Moraes is seeking to undermine his presidency.
Reis is accused of seeking to intimidate or attack the head of electoral authority, who regularly clashes with Bolsonaro for his conspiracy theories about voter fraud. In an audio that circulated on social media earlier this month, he is heard calling on supporters to break into the top court and remove justices by force, if needed. Reis did not respond to a request for comment.
Paula, who has repeatably attacked Moraes on social media, wrote on Twitter Friday that he has not sought violence.
In another sign of rising tensions with the court, Bolsonaro followed through with his promise to request Moraes’s impeachment at the senate. He had also pledged to seek the impeachment of the Justice Luis Roberto Barroso, who heads the nation’s top electoral authority, but hasn’t done so yet.
In a petition filed to the senate, Bolsonaro says that acts recently practiced by Moraes “go beyond acceptable republican limits” and that the justice “behaves in a manner incompatible with the honor, dignity and decorum of his duties.”
The request is unlikely to make progress in congress, however. Pacheco this week said that impeachment attempts, both against supreme court justices or the president himself, aren’t appropriate at the moment.
Moraes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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