Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has dismissed the head of the country’s army, following allegations that he attempted to protect right-wing rioters from arrest following the January 8th uprising in Braslia.
Gen Júlio Cesar de Arruda was removed from his job on Saturday, nearly two weeks after supporters of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro caused mayhem in Brazil’s capital in what Lula’s administration described as a failed coup attempt.
On the night of the attack, Arruda, who some of Lula’s associates fear is politically allied with Bolsonaro, reportedly barred police from detaining suspected rioters who had taken sanctuary in a camp near Braslia’s army headquarters.
After ransacking Brazil’s presidential palace, supreme court, and congress, it is believed that a large number of right-wing criminals were able to evade capture due to a controversial judgment. And it has reinforced popular suspicions that at least some members of Brazil’s armed services supported the insurrection.
According to the daily O Globo, in an apparent effort to root out ardent Bolsonaro supporters, Lula has removed at least 80 military personnel from their positions in his administration during the past five days.
Gen Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, the 62-year-old commander of the south-eastern military command in So Paulo, will succeed Arruda.