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Brazil’s new president sacks country’s army chief following far-right uprising

Brazil’s president has sacked the country’s army chief over concerns the country’s democracy is under threat following an uprising of far-right protesters.

The official website of the Brazilian armed forces said General Julio Cesar de Arruda had been removed as head of the army.

He has been replaced by General Tomas Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, who was head of the Southeast Military Command.

Around 1,500 people have been detained after the invasion of Brazil’s congress, presidential palace and supreme court at the start of January.

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How Brazil’s insurrection unfolded

Rioters were seeking military intervention to either restore the far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro or oust the newly inaugurated leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, who won the election with just 50.9% of the votes.

Supporters of the former president stormed through government buildings and destroyed public property.

Mr Lula said several times in public that there were definitely people in the army who allowed the rioting to occur.

Similarities to 6 January 2021 Congress riots

The riot bore strong similarities to the 6 January 2021 riots at the US Congress by mobs who wanted to overturn former president Donald Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden.

Mr Lula met defence minister Jose Mucio, chief of staff Rui Costa, and the new army commander in Brasilia later on Saturday.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Mucio said the 8 January riots had caused “a fracture in the level of trust” in the army’s top levels and the government decided a change was needed.

Read more on Brazil:
What is happening in the capital?

Riots not a random outpouring of anger
Mob straight out of Trump’s playbook – with a difference

A woman reacts next to members of the military as supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro leave a camp outside the Army Headquarters, in Brasilia, Brazil
Image:
A woman reacts next to members of the military

Former president under investigation

Mr Bolsonaro is now being investigated for allegedly encouraging his supporters.

Brazil‘s supreme court has now agreed to look at the ugly scenes, much as US politicians held an inquiry into Donald Trump’s role in those in Washington.

Agreeing to a request by federal prosecutors, Justice Alexandre de Moraes stated: “Public figures who continue to cowardly conspire against democracy trying to establish a state of exception will be held accountable.”

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Prosecutors say Mr Bolsonaro, who is in the US for medical treatment, will be investigated for possible “instigation and intellectual authorship of the anti-democratic acts that resulted in vandalism and violence”.

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