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The man arrested in Brazil for attempting to carry out an attack confessed that he was inspired by Bolsonaro’s call to arm

Jair Bolsonaro never acknowledged defeat in the elections in Brazil (REUTERS / Adriano Machado)
Jair Bolsonaro never acknowledged defeat in the elections in Brazil (REUTERS / Adriano Machado)

The man detained for attempting to detonate a bomb in protest against Brazil’s election result was inspired by the president’s call to arm Jair Bolsonaro to create an arsenal, according to a copy of his police testimony seen by the agency Reuters.

George Washington de Oliveira Sousa He was detained on Saturday, a day after police said they had thwarted his plan to set off an explosive device near the Brasilia airport.

The incident added a new dimension to post-election violence in Brazil, where tensions remain high after the closest elections in decades.

Hours later, Police deactivated a series of explosive devices found in a pasture on the outskirts of Brasilia a week after the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president of Brazil, official sources reported on Monday. According to the Police, after an anonymous complaint, the explosives were found in the surroundings of Gama, a district of Brasilia located about 35 kilometers from the area where the ministries are located in the country’s capital.

The incoming Minister of Justice, flavio dinoindicated in a television interview on Monday that it will be necessary to strengthen security for the inauguration of the president-elect on Sunday Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro. “We’re not talking about a lone wolf,” Dino said of Sousa. “There are powerful people behind this and the police will investigate. We will not allow political terrorism in Brazil”.

Security forces work while a federal police bomb squad robot is seen near what is believed to be an explosive device in Brasilia (REUTERS/Adriano Machado)
Security forces work while a federal police bomb squad robot is seen near what is believed to be an explosive device in Brasilia (REUTERS/Adriano Machado)

Sousa’s first lawyer, Wallison dos Reis PereiraHe said that he had confessed and that he was cooperating with the police. His current attorney, Jorge ChediakHe said he had not yet spoken to Sousa, who is in jail, but claimed his confession to police was full of “contradictions.”

Sousa, 54, a gas station manager in the northern state of Pará, told police that Bolsonaro’s sowing of electoral doubts inspired his trip to the capital on December 12. After arriving in Brasilia, he joined a camp of Bolsonaro supporters outside the Army headquarters calling for a coup.

“My trip to Brasilia was to join the protests in front of the army headquarters and wait for the armed forces to authorize me to take up arms and destroy communism,” he said, according to a copy of his testimony.

Sousa declared that he had become a registered gun owner in October last year, joining a group that has grown six-fold to nearly 700,000 since Bolsonaro was elected in 2018 and began easing gun ownership laws.

Lula will assume the presidency of Brazil on January 1 (REUTERS / Adriano Machado)
Lula will assume the presidency of Brazil on January 1 (REUTERS / Adriano Machado)

The executive said he had invested almost 160,000 reais ($30,800) since then in his arsenal. He took two 12-gauge shotguns, two revolvers, three pistols, a rifle, more than a thousand cartridges, and five sticks of dynamite on his trip to Brasilia.

“What motivated me to buy the weapons were the words of President Bolsonaro, who always emphasized the importance of civilians being armed, saying: ‘An armed population will never be enslaved,’” Sousa said.

The 54-year-old man, from whom an entire arsenal was seized at his residence, confessed that he built the device and that he introduced it into the vehicle, in an act that, he said, was planned to cause chaos, force the authorities to declare a state of siege and thereby allow the military to launch a coup.

With information from Reuters

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