BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday launched a new attack on the country’s Supreme Court which has authorized probes into some of his activities, accusing the court of “committing abuses” and saying it was time to put “everything in its rightful place.”
Bolsonaro has in recent weeks endorsed supporters who staged protests calling for military intervention in domestic politics and the closure of the Supreme Court and Congress. The clash has triggered fears Brazil’s young democracy may not survive the struggle taking place during the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak outside of the United States.
The court has authorized investigations into allegations that Bolsonaro made federal police appointments for personal motives. It is also investigating the anti-democratic rallies, a probe that has resulted in the arrest of the most militant leaders and raids of homes and offices of alleged organizers.
The court is seeking the movement’s funders, and also lifting seals on bank accounts and issuing subpoenas for communication records of federal lawmakers close to Bolsonaro.
“They are committing abuses, that is clear,” Bolsonaro told supporters as he left his official residence in comments posted on social media.
“What happened yesterday, piercing lawmakers’ privacy, does not have any precedent in a democracy, even a fragile one. It’s time to put everything in its rightful place.”
Later on Wednesday, Bolsonaro said “a big part of the population” trusts his leadership and that government institutions must follow people’s wishes, not the other way around.
On Tuesday night, Bolsonaro, a former army captain, took to Twitter and appeared to refer to the same issue, saying he would take legal action to protect Brazil’s freedoms as he could not “stay quiet while rights are being violated.”
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio)