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Brazil police carry out raids against suspects in Brasilia riots

Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former president Jair Bolsonaro, sit in front of police inside Planalto Palace after storming it, in Brasilia, Brazil, Jan 8, 2023. (ERALDO PERES / AP)

BRASILIA — Brazil's federal police on Friday carried out raids against people suspected of involvement in the Jan 8 storming of government buildings by supporters of far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro.

A police statement said the operation was aimed at "identifying people who participated in, funded or fostered" the protests. It included 24 warrants covering five states and the capital Brasilia.

The Para raids targeted six people suspected of coordinating or funding the actions, federal police said, adding that investigations showed they provided material assistance to an attempt to "abolish the rule of law"

On Jan 8, thousands of backers of Bolsonaro invaded and ransacked the Congress building, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in the worst attack on state institutions since Brazil's return to democracy in the 1980s.

READ MORE: Lula takes over in Brazil, slams Bolsonaro's threats

Police did not disclose the names of those who were targeted by the operation but said they were being investigated for the crimes of "violent abolition of the rule of law, coup d'état, qualified damage, criminal association, incitement, destruction and deterioration of specially protected property".

The latest warrants were ordered by the Supreme Court, police said.

A second statement said that at the same time, a separate operation was carried out in the northern state of Para against what it called "anti-democratic extremists" also allegedly involved in the demonstrations.

The Para raids targeted six people suspected of coordinating or funding the actions, federal police said, adding that investigations showed they provided material assistance to an attempt to "abolish the rule of law".

READ MORE: Brazil arrests 4 for alleged coup attempt in Bolsonaro riots

Following news of the operations, Justice Minister Flavio Dino praised federal police investigations into what he called "crimes against our homeland perpetrated by coup-mongers and their allies".

"Democracy has won and will win," said Dino, who serves under leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula narrowly defeated Bolsonaro in an October election. The Brasilia demonstrators were protesting Bolsonaro's loss and calling for a military coup to oust Lula and restore the far-right leader.