Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday alleged that his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro actively participated in planning for his supporters to storm government buildings on January 8.
“Today I am well aware and will say it loud and clear: that citizen [former president Bolsonaro] prepared the coup," Lula said in an interview with broadcaster RedeTV!
Refusing to accept Bolsonaro’s election loss, thousands of his backers broke into the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court buildings in Brasilia a week after Lula’s inauguration.
The president was not in the capital at the time.
“I am certain that Bolsonaro actively participated in that and is still trying to participate," Lula added when questioned about his predecessor’s role in the assault.
Lula’s allegations against Bolsonaro — who has been in the US state of Florida since late December — came the same day that a Brazilian senator accused the former president of attending a meeting on how to prevent the handover of power.
The plan, according to Senator Marcos do Val, was to force Superior Electoral Court president Alexandre de Moraes to say something incriminating while secretly recording him.
De Moraes is a favorite target of Bolsonaro supporters, who allege he interfered in the election to help Lula.
Do Val, a former Bolsonaro ally, initially told Veja magazine that it was Bolsonaro who presented the plan to him, but later changed his version of the story, saying the former president remained “silent" during the meeting.
His accusations dominated local news on Thursday, and Do Val was called to give statements to the Federal Police.
Bolsonaro, who has requested a six-month visa to remain in the United States, is under investigation as part of a sprawling probe of the January 8 assault.
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