Suspect in failed Brazil bomb attack: I wanted to halt Lula’s inauguration

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 25 (EFE).- The supporter of Brazilian ultrarightist President Jair Bolsonaro who was arrested on the weekend after trying to detonate a bomb in Brasilia and from whom authorities seized an arsenal of weaponry admitted that his aim was to cause chaos to prevent the inauguration of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to excerpts from his questioning released Sunday by the Federal District Civil Police, the accused admitted that he had planned to detonate the bomb with other Bolsonaro supporters who are camped out in front of the Brazilian army’s general headquarters to call upon the soldiers to stage a coup d’etat to prevent the leftist Lula’s investiture on Jan. 1.

He added that the aim of the two attacks that the group had planned was to “start chaos” that would force the authorities to declare a “state of siege” and enable the army to launch the coup.

“I decided to work out a plan with the demonstrators at the Army General Headquarters to provoke an intervention by the armed forces and the declaration of a state of siege to prevent the inauguration of communism in Brazil,” the suspect said.

The suspect was charged with terrorism after admitting that he built the bomb

Businessman George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, 54, was formally charged with terrorism after admitting that he built the bomb that was placed inside a fuel tanker truck but deactivated on Saturday by police before the vehicle could be driven to Brasilia’s international airport.

Sousa said that he lives in the Amazon state of Para and that he has been in Brasilia since Nov. 12 as part of the groups of Bolsonaro followers camped out in front of the barracks, adding that they do not recognize Lula’s election victory in last October’s presidential election.

“What motivated me to acquire the weapons (seized at his home) were the words of President Bolsonaro, who always emphasizes the importance of civilian armament,” he added.

Lula’s future attorney general, Flavio Dino, said that the camps set up by the Bolsonaro supporters in front of the military barracks where they have been calling for a coup have been transformed into terrorist “incubators” and he called on the authorities to break them up.

“The serious events of Saturday in Brasilia prove that such ‘patriotic’ camps have become incubators for terrorists,” he said.

“No political deal is possible (with such people) and there will be no amnesty for terrorists, their supporters and financiers,” he warned.

At the home of the accused, authorities found two shotguns, a rifle, two revolvers, three automatic pistols, about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, camouflage uniforms and five explosive devices used in mining and similar to what was used to prepare the bomb that police defused.

The deactivation of the tanker truck bomb and the seizure of the arsenal inside the suspect’s home came just eight days before Lula is scheduled to be inaugurated and have sparked fears of possible violent acts during his swearing-in.

So far, at least 17 heads of state or government – including Spain’s King Felipe VI and the leaders of Germany, Portugal, Argentina and Uruguay – have confirmed that they will attend the inauguration ceremony for the leader and founder of the leftist Workers Party (PT)

Some 300,000 people are expected to attend the musical festival organized so that the public can celebrate Lula’s taking office. About 30 singers and musical groups will perform at the extravaganza.

EFE –/bp