Home » Police arrest man suspected of planting explosives in Brazil’s capital ahead of presidential inauguration

Police arrest man suspected of planting explosives in Brazil’s capital ahead of presidential inauguration

by Mahmmod Shar

By Marcia Reverdosa and Maija Ehlinger, CNN

São PauloCNN — The man arrested for being involved in a bombing attempt at Brasilia International Airport over the weekend said in a written statement to police that he intended to “create chaos” so a “siege state in the country” would be installed to prevent former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from taking office again in January,

The suspect, identified as 54-year-old gas station manager George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, was arrested on Saturday by police on suspicion of planting and possessing explosive devices one week ahead of Lula da Silva’s inauguration, Police Chief Robson Cândido said during a news briefing.

Police seized an explosive device found by a truck driver in a tanker truck close to the airport. Upon further investigation, police also found a rifle, two shotguns, revolvers, more than 1,000 pieces of ammunition and five explosive devices in the suspect’s rented apartment in Brasilia, police said.

“This is something that has never existed in Brasilia and we will not allow such demonstrations that may harm people and public property,” the police chief said during the briefing.

In the statement to the police, which CNN has seen, the suspect said he intended “to prevent the establishment of communism in Brazil” and “provoke an intervention of the armed forces.”

Though the administration of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro has said it is cooperating with the transition of power, the far-right leader has stopped short of explicitly conceding his election loss on October 30. In protest, thousands of his supporters have gathered at military barracks across the country, asking the army to step in as they claim, with no evidence, that the election was stolen.

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According to the police statement, Sousa arrived in Brasilia from his home state of Para on October 12 to join other Bolsonaro supporters, who were camped in front of the Armed Forces headquarters in the city.

In his statement, Sousa claimed that President Bolsonaro had motivated him to spend more than $30,000 on the weapons and ammunition.

Bolsonaro has been contacted by CNN for comment.

Police confirmed in a statement to CNN that the suspect intended to commit a crime at the airport and that new searches are being conducted. The police report that no additional arrests have been made, and the camping area in front of the Army headquarters is still there.

Police Chief Cândido declared, “We will not permit in Brasilia this type of demonstration that threatens lives, the people’s right to come and go, or even property.”

The Brazilian Army, Federal District Military Police, and Justice Ministry all claim to be aware of the situation and that they are continuing their investigations.

The event, according to Flavio Dino, the justice minister chosen by Lula da Silva’s new administration, “proved that the so-called “patriotic” camps have turned into incubators of terrorists.”

The fight against terrorists and rioters, he continued, “will be intensified.” He added that steps were being taken to increase security surrounding the inauguration. Democracy has prevailed and will prevail.

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