Former Brazilian President Bolsonaro appears before police in a riot investigation

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By Webdesk

Authorities are investigating Bolsonaro’s alleged role in his supporters’ January 8 attack on government institutions.

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro testifies before federal police about his conduct surrounding the January 8 attacks on government buildings by his supporters in the capital Brasilia following his election loss.

Bolsonaro arrived at police headquarters on Wednesday morning in a vehicle with tinted windows and made no statement to journalists, AFP news agency reported.

The far-right former president is under investigation for his alleged role in the riots that saw his supporters loot the Supreme Court, Congress and Presidential Palace buildings to protest his narrow loss to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in October.

Hundreds of suspected rioters were expected to stand trial.

Months prior to the presidential election, Bolsonaro raised the possibility of electoral fraud in the country’s electronic voting system without evidence, never explicitly admitting defeat.

Boldonaro’s appearance before authorities on Wednesday came less than two weeks after Brazil’s Attorney General Augusto Aras said Bolsonaro “allegedly encouraged the commission of crimes” against the rule of law.

Left-wing President Lula has previously accused Bolsonaro of planning the January 8 uprising, which he described as a “coup”.

Bolsonaro left Brazil for the United States in early 2023 and did not return until late March, so he was not in the country during the riot and did not attend Lula’s inauguration.

Many Bolsonaro supporters have falsely said the election was stolen — a claim that drove the riots, which observers have compared to the 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

From Brasilia, Brazilian authorities Monica Yanikiew of Al Jazeera are investigating a now-deleted Facebook post by US-based Bolsonaro questioning the legitimacy of the election two days after the riot.

“What the federal police and judiciary are investigating is that he supports the rioters who have said they acted to get President [Lula] from taking office because they believed the elections had been rigged,” Yanikiew said.

Bolsonaro has denied any allegations related to the riot.

Earlier this month, the former president testified to federal police about three sets of diamond jewelry he received from Saudi Arabia during his presidency.

He has also denied any allegation in that case, telling CNN Brazil last month that he was “crucified” for a gift he neither asked for nor received.

Bolsonaro was expected to testify about his conduct as president in several other cases.

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