Brazil’s Lula Removes Soldiers from Guarding Presidential Residence

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 29, 2022. REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo
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Army officers stand guard outside the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

BRASILIA, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has removed 40 troops guarding the presidential residence after expressing distrust in the military for failing to act against demonstrators that ransacked government buildings on Jan. 8.

His decision was published on Tuesday in the government’s official gazette.

Most of the troops guarding the Alvorada palace, as the presidential residence is called, are from the army, but some are also members of the Navy, Air Force and a militarized police force.

Last week, Lula told reporters that security force members were complicit in letting a mob of supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro storm the main buildings that form the seat of power in Brasilia.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on who would replace the troops guarding the residence.

Investigations into the rampage have begun to show apparently intentional lapses in security that allowed it to occur.

Several thousand Bolsonaro supporters stormed the Congress, the Planalto presidential palace and the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the result of the October election narrowly won by Lula.

“There were a lot of people who were complicit in this among the military police. There were many people from the armed forces who were complicit,” Lula told journalists. “I am convinced that the door to the palace was opened to allow these people in, because I did not see that the door was broken.”

Lula has also stepped up criticism of the army for not doing anything to discourage a two-month-old encampment of Bolsonaro supporters outside its headquarters, where they clamored for the military to overturn the presidential election result.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Berkrot
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