Brazil: Lula’s National Security Chief Resigns Over Riot Presence

General Marcos Goncalves Dias resigns
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BRASILIA, April 19 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s top national security adviser resigned on Wednesday, the presidential palace said, amid a scandal related to the aide’s presence during the storming of government buildings in the capital.

The resignation of General Marcos Goncalves Dias, which the president accepted, followed a report from CNN Brasil that included footage of him walking around the presidential palace while a mob ransacked government buildings in Brasilia on Jan. 8.

Sources close the president said there was no doubt that Dias did not support or facilitate the invasion by supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro in any way. Dias was head of presidential security during Lula’s two previous terms.

Although the general’s presence in the area after the invasion was previously known, Lula’s opposition says the footage indicated that the government facilitated the invaders’ entry, as it looks to bolster its request for a special committee on the invasion.

This committee would be the opposition’s main platform to push its version of events, which centers on Lula’s newly-sworn in government having colluded with the attacks in Brasilia.

Dias arrived at the presidential palace shortly after it was invaded and stayed there until the arrival of Lula that evening, after the Bolsonaro supporters had already been removed and arrested, the sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

One of the sources said that Dias – who was able to get invaders out the door of the presidency room and lock the armored windows – managed to do what was possible, alone.

In an interview with local broadcaster GloboNews later Wednesday, Dias said the footage released sought to link him to an army captain working for his national security agency who was filmed distributing water to the invaders in the palace.

He added that the captain and other agency staffers were removed from their positions and were under investigation by internal inquiries and by the Supreme Court.

Dias said he offered his resignation to Lula so that the investigations could take place in a transparent way.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by David Alire Garcia
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