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Brazil officials report 300 arrests in Sunday riot, detail criminal investigation already underway

Authorities said the damaged buildings will be inspected for evidence, including fingerprints and images of the incident.

January 9, 2023 8:25am

Updated: January 9, 2023 1:00pm

The protest this past weekend in Brazil in which thousands of supporters of ex-President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace appears over, but Brazilian authorities said late Sunday a full investigation of the incident is already underway.

The protesters wanted military intervention to either restore the right-wing populist Bolsonaro to power or oust the newly inaugurated leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected Oct. 30, according to the Associated Press.

Bolsonaro has condemned the weekend vandalism.

"Peaceful demonstrations, within the law, are part of democracy," he said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. "However, vandalism and the invasion of public buildings like today's acts, and like those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, are an exception."

The rioters wore the country's green and yellow national flag as they smashed through windows, overturned the table at which Supreme Court justices convene and vandalized an iconic statue outside the court, leaving the buildings' interiors in states of ruin, AP also reported.

In a news conference late Sunday, Brazilian officials said the buildings would be inspected for evidence, including fingerprints and images, to hold people accountable. The rioters apparently intended to spark similar actions nationwide, they alleged.

"They will not succeed in destroying Brazilian democracy," Justice Minister Flavio Dino said. "We will not accept the path of criminality to carry out political fights in Brazil. A criminal is treated like a criminal."

So far, 300 people have been arrested, the federal district’s civil police tweeted.

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