Brazil police carry out raids as part of Jan. 8 riots probe

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's flag is reflected on a broken window, after the supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro participated in an anti-democratic riot at Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil, January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino / File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazil's federal police said on Wednesday they were carrying out fresh raids and arrests as part of an investigation into the Jan. 8 riots in Brasilia, in which supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings.

Police, according to a statement, were serving three arrest warrants and 10 search-and-seizure warrants ordered by the Supreme Court in four states - Sao Paulo, Parana, Minas Gerais and Goias.

The raids represent the 17th phase of an operation launched in mid-January to identify people who participated in, funded or fostered the riots, in which a crowd invaded and ransacked the Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court.

In January, supporters of far-right Bolsonaro invaded and vandalized the government buildings a week after leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, protesting his victory in the October election and calling for a military coup.

Police did not disclose the names on Wednesday of those targeted in the raids, but said they were being investigated for crimes of "violent abolition of the rule of law, coup d'état, qualified damage, criminal association, incitement, destruction and damage of specially protected property."

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court voted to convict the first three people to stand trial for the riots, sentencing them each to at least 14 years in prison.

Bolsonaro himself has faced a congressional inquiry surrounding the Jan. 8 insurrection and multiple police probes overseen by the Supreme Court.

Brazil's top electoral court in June barred him from public office until 2030 for his conduct during last year's fraught election, when he summoned ambassadors to vent unfounded claims about the country's electronic voting system.

(Reporting by Gabriel AraujoEditing by Bernadette Baum)

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