Brazilian authorities seeking to punish the mob that stormed the halls of power in Brasilia issued arrest warrants Tuesday for two former senior officials, one of them a close ally of far right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro.
One of them is Anderson Torres, who used to be Bolsonaro’s justice minister and lately served as security chief in the capital.
He was fired after Sunday’s stunning violence, which was reminiscent of the January 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington, and brought global condemnation.
Anderson’s failure to act as thousands of Bolsonaro supporters overran congress, the presidential palace and the supreme court is “potentially criminal,” judge Alexandre Moraes of the Supreme Court said.
He also issued an arrest warrant for Fabio Augusto, who led the military police in Brasilia and was also removed from his job after Sunday’s mob violence. News reports said he is already in custody.
“Brazilian democracy will not be struck, much less destroyed, by terrorist criminals,” the judge wrote in his decision.
Torres was on vacation in the United States on Sunday as the mob ran amok. On Tuesday he denied any complicity in the events and said he will return to Brazil and defend himself.
Bolsonaro has also been in the United States since the end of December, skipping the inauguration of successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
On Tuesday, Bolsonaro left the Florida hospital where he had been receiving treatment for intestinal problems stemming from a stabbing in 2018.