Home World Lula administration ousts Gen. Julio Cesar de Arruda, head of Brazil’s army...

Lula administration ousts Gen. Julio Cesar de Arruda, head of Brazil’s army after insurrection



RIO DE JANEIRO -The administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ousted the head of Brazil’s army on Saturday, moving against the most senior military officer to be held accountable in connection with the Jan. 8 insurrection that saw right-wing rioters rampage through this nation’s halls of power.

The removal of Gen. Julio Cesar de Arruda came six days after The Washington Post exclusively reported that he had sought to protect rioters and supporters of defeated former president Jair Bolsonaro who were sheltering at Army headquarters after storming and ransacking the presidential palace, the supreme court and congress.

“‘You are not going to arrest people here,’” Arruda had told Lula’s justice minister around 10:20 on the night of the riots, The Post reported on Jan. 14. Although the army later relented, authorities were only allowed to enter a camp where rioters were holed up the next morning, a delay that officials say allowed hundreds to escape.

Arruda was ordered to step aside by Lula’s defense minister, Jose Mucio, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Lula’s administration has forced the retirements or fired at least 40 other rank-and-file members of the military who were involved in security at the presidential palace on the day of the attacks.

Arruda will be replaced by the military commander for the Southeast, Gen. Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva. In a speech delivered this week, Paiva called on Brazilians to respect the results of the elections and affirmed the Army’s status as a nonpolitical and nonpartisan institution.

Lula had publicly shown distrust of the army after Jan. 8, but aides had insisted that he would not fire the commander before the completion of investigations so as to not intensify the tension between the executive and the armed forces.

On Friday, Lula met with Arruda and the commanders of the Navy, Marcos Sampaio Olsen, and of the Air Force, Marcelo Kanitz Damasceno. The meeting was designed to ed to reduce tensions at the beginning of his government.

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