BRASILIA, June 17 (Reuters) - Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday told supporters it is necessary to stop “abuses” from the nation’s Supreme Court and that time was nearing to put “everything in its rightful place,” his latest attack in an ongoing confrontation with the top court.
Bolsonaro, a right-wing politician, has in recent weeks endorsed supporters who have staged illegal protests calling for military intervention and the closure of the Supreme Court, which the president says is not allowing him to govern the country.
The Supreme Court has authorized investigations into alleged interference by the president in federal police appointments for personal motives, and is now investigating the movement that is pushing for the court’s closure as well as Congress.
The clash has triggered a political crisis and fears that it could undermine Brazil’s young democracy as the country struggles to overcome the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak outside of the United States.
The court’s investigation into the anti-democratic rallies led to the arrest of its most militant leaders and raids of homes and offices of alleged organizers. Now, in seeking the movement’s funders, it is also lifting bank account secrecy 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.”
On Tuesday night, Bolsonaro took to Twitter and appeared to refer to the same issue, saying he would take legal action to protect Brazilian’s freedoms as he could not “stay quiet while rights are being violated and ideas are being persecuted.”
Bolsonaro is a former army captain who admires Brazil’s 1964 armed forces coup that established a long military dictatorship and he has included active duty army generals in his inner cabinet. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu Editing by Marguerita Choy)