On Wednesday (25), Brazil’s Federal Police launched the 19th phase of Operation Lesa Pátria, aiming to identify people who incited, participated and encouraged the acts that occurred on January 8 in Brasília, the country’s capital.
Agents carry out measures regarding 12 people under investigation, including five preventive arrests and 13 search and seizure warrants, all issued by the Supreme Court (STF). The measures are being implemented in Cuiabá (Mato Grosso state), Cáceres (Mato Grosso state), Santos (São Paulo state), São Gonçalo (Rio de Janeiro state) and Brasília (Federal District).
One of the targets is Leonardo Rodrigues de Jesus, known as Léo Índio, cousin of the sons of former president Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party). That is the second time that the Federal Police has carried out searches at Léo Índio's addresses in Brasília and Rio de Janeiro.
In a statement, the Federal Police says that, in theory, the facts investigated constitute the crimes of violent abolition of the Democratic Rule of Law, coup d'état, qualified damage, criminal association, incitement to crime, deterioration or destruction of specially protected assets and crimes under terrorism law.
Operation Lesa Pátria began in January and will remain in place, with periodic updates on the number of court orders served.
Understand the case
The attacks that occurred in Brasília on January 8, 2023 – often referred to as the "January 8" or the coup acts of January 8 – consisted of a series of acts of vandalism, invasions and depredations of public properties committed by a crowd of Bolsonaro supports. The goal was to instigate a military coup against the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) and put Jair Bolsonaro back to power in Brazil.
The attacks occurred amid coup demonstrations in Brazil following the 2022 elections, in which former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro alleged "electoral fraud" after losing to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Around 1 p.m., Brasília time, about 4,000 radical Bolsonaro supporters left the Army Headquarters, and marched towards the Three Powers Square, clashing with the Military Police of the Federal District on the Esplanade of Ministries. Before 3 p.m., the crowd broke the security barrier established by security officers and occupied the ramp and roof slab of the National Congress. Part of the group managed to invade and depredate the Congress building, the Planalto Palace and the Supreme Court Palace.
The events resulted in the partial destruction of public buildings, the destruction and theft of works of art from the buildings and the massive arrest of suspects involved in the attacks, including the identification of fugitives. Furthermore, there was a federal intervention in the Federal District until January 31, 2023, and the removal of the Federal District’s governor, Ibaneis Rocha, until March 15, as determined by the Supreme Court.
Edited by: Nadini Lopes e Vivian Virissimo