Brazil ex-legislator, Bolsonaro-ally attacks police with gun, grenade
President Jair Bolsonaro's close allies and supporters continue to practice violence amid Brazil's most polarized election campaign.
Former Brazilian congressman with ties to President Jair Bolsonaro shot grenades at police officers, injuring two, in an attempt to prevent his arrest, reported authorities on Sunday.
Bolsonaro instantly condemned Roberto Jefferson's armed attack and distanced himself from the former senator, labeling him a "bandit."
The Federal Supreme Court (STF) ordered Jefferson's return to detention after he violated the terms of his house arrest by attacking Supreme Court Justice Carmen Lucia online, calling her a "witch" and a "prostitute".
Jefferson hid in his home, located in Levy Gasaparian in Rio de Janeiro state, for eight hours. He stated in a social media video that he shot a gun but had no intention of injuring the officers.
The Federal Police indicated that Jefferson had resisted arrest using "firearms and explosives," but was finally taken into custody in the evening "after an intense negotiation."
Two policemen "were wounded by shrapnel from a grenade thrown" by the ex-legislator but received medical attention and are in good condition, according to the Federal Police.
Bolsonaro, who had sent his justice minister to the scene earlier, condemned the "armed action" and offered solidarity with the injured. "Whoever shoots at the Federal Police is a bandit," he said during a television interview on Sunday night while insisting he had no ties with Jefferson, who in 2020 said the President was his "personal friend".
The President claimed on social media that he had not taken photos with Jefferson, but multiple images of the two together have since been published when he became President in 2019.
Bolsonaro condemned Jefferson's words against the Supreme Court justice, but he also condemned the STF investigations into Jefferson, which he says are being conducted "without any support in the Constitution."
The violent confrontation comes only a week before the second round of the presidential election, which pits Bolsonaro against leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
"The offenses against Carmen Lucia cannot be accepted by anyone who respects democracy. They have created a violent faction in society. A machine to destroy democratic values. This generates behavior like the one we saw today," Lula wrote on Twitter.
This is not the first time someone from the President's side expresses violence. At the beginning of September, a supporter of Bolsonaro killed a supporter of election rival Lula da Silva with an axe in an argument about politics in a rural area of Brazil, police have said.
The killing comes as Brazil is experiencing its most polarized election campaign in decades. As tensions rise, police have upped security measures at campaign events.
A similar incident occurred on July 11, when Marcelo Arruda, while celebrating his 50th birthday, was shot by a federal prison guard shouting slogans in favor of the current far-right president and candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. Arruda is a leading member of the Brazilian Workers' Party.
Arruda's murder came two days after another Bolsonaro supporter threw a crude homemade device containing feces on a Lula crowd in Rio de Janeiro.