Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sacked the army chief, Saturday, two weeks after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed parliament, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court. Lula said after the storm that he suspected parts of the army and police had collaborated with the attackers.
The ousted army chief, Julio Cesar de Arruda, had only held the position since December 30, two days before the departure of far-right Bolsonaro. Lula confirmed the supreme soldier in office at the beginning of January. De Arruda was replaced by Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, who commanded the Brazilian ground forces in the southeast. Paiva gave a speech last week calling on the military to respect the election results at the end of October and protect democracy. A large part of the army and police are pro-Bolsonaro.
Lula herself did not respond to the change of the army’s top leadership on Saturday. He wished Paiva good luck via a message on Twitter. At the end of the afternoon (local time), the president met with his defense minister, José Museo, and chief of staff, Rui Costa. Museuu then stated that the storming of government buildings in the capital, Brasília, on January 8 caused a “break in the level of trust” between the military leadership and the government. “It was necessary to put an end to it immediately, so that we could close this period.”
The Brazilian president has already expelled dozens of other soldiers in recent days. The military leadership is being blamed in particular for not intervening when Bolsonaro supporters protested for months in front of the Armed Forces headquarters in the capital Brasilia and other barracks in the country against the election results and called on the military to install the elected president. Lola on January 1 to avoid.
Thousands of radical Bolsonaro supporters marched from the camp in the capital to government buildings on January 8. They broke through the barricades almost unhindered and stormed the Chamber of Deputies, the Planalto Presidential Action Palace and the Supreme Court. There they caused great destruction.
Lula said in a press conference this week that “many members of the military police and the armed forces are complicit” and also allowed the protesters to enter the buildings. The president said in a televised interview that “all military personnel involved in the coup attempt will be punished, regardless of their ranks.”
In recent weeks, hundreds of Bolsonaro sympathizers who participated in or were responsible for the break-ins have been arrested. The Supreme Court is also investigating the possible role of the former president himself in the events.
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