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Vast majority of Brazilians condemn weekend rioting as more than 2,000 held by police

<i>Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters</i><br/>Security forces clash with demonstrators in Brasilia on Sunday.
Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
Security forces clash with demonstrators in Brasilia on Sunday.

By Jack Guy and Rodrigo Pedroso, CNN

A vast majority of Brazilians condemn recent riots and invasions of federal government buildings, and more than half say former President Jair Bolsonaro is at least partially responsible for them, according to new polling.

Polling firm Datafolha released new figures Wednesday showing that 93% of Brazilians condemn the attacks on the Congress, Presidential Palace and Supreme Court buildings while only 3% support them.

On Sunday, protesters supporting Bolsonaro besieged federal buildings in the capital city Brasilia, calling for the military to intervene and oust leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who returned to power after a 12-year hiatus following a slim run-off victory over Bolsonaro last October.

More than half of Brazilians — 55% — said Bolsonaro holds at least some responsibility for the attacks carried out by his supporters, while 39% said he cannot be held responsible.

According to the poll, 46% think that all those involved in the invasion should be imprisoned, while 9% say that no one should go to jail.

Regarding the handling of the attacks by the new government, 64% of those interviewed said they believe the government will control the situation from now on, while 29% think that da Silva will fail to do so. The telephone poll interviewed 1,214 Brazilians over 16 years old on January 10 and 11.

The fallout from the attacks continues this week.

Lula da Silva said Thursday that some of the military police of the Federal District, which includes the capital Brasilia, and the armed forces had colluded with protesters when they entered the Congress, Presidential Palace and Supreme Court.

Footage shared of the attack appeared to show forces standing by and watching protesters march into government buildings.

During a press conference from the Presidential Palace, Lula da Silva told journalists that his government will investigate public agents suspected of helping the protesters.

“I’m waiting for the dust to settle. I want to see all the tapes recorded inside the Supreme Court, inside the palace. There were many people complicit in this. There were many from the MP (military police), many from the armed forces complicit,” Lula da Silva said.

He added, “I am convinced that the door of the Planalto Palace was open for these people to enter because there is no broken door. It means someone facilitated their entry here. We will investigate very calmly and see what really happened.”

Investigators are racing to find the riot’s perpetrators and donors. The Brazilian Attorney General’s Federal Office (AGU) requested the Federal District Judiciary to block the assets of 52 people and seven companies with alleged ties to the January 8 rioters, according to a document shared by the Federal District Judiciary on Thursday.

The document refers to the people and the companies who allegedly financed the buses used to take Bolsonaro supporters from various parts of the country to Brasilia to protest on January 8.

“The defendants played a decisive role in the development of January 8 events, and, therefore, must be responsible for the damage caused to the federal public property,” the Attorney General’s Office said in its request.

A total of R$52 million Brazilian reais (about US$10 million) in assets belonging to the suspects is requested to be blocked and to be used for repairs to damaged property if they are found guilty.

The Attorney General’s Office can request the judiciary to block additional assets as the damages are further evaluated.

On Thursday morning, the Federal District Penitentiary Administration Secretariat reported that 2,082 people had been detained or arrested by the Federal District Military Police and other security forces following the attacks.

“All detainees were identified by the Federal Police and will be held responsible, to the extent of their responsibilities, for crimes of terrorism, criminal association, attack against the Democratic State of Law, coup d’état, persecution, incitement to crime, among others,” reads the statement.

CNN has reached out to Brasilia’s Federal District Military Police and Armed Forces for comment.

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