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Lula says Bolsonaro sought 'coup', senator reveals conspiracy meeting

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro. (File Photo)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says his right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro actively participated in planning for his supporters to storm government buildings on January 8.

In an interview with broadcaster RedeTV on Thursday, Lula said he is sure Bolsonaro was actively involved in the riot and is still trying to participate.

"Today I am well aware and will say it loud and clear: that citizen [former president Bolsonaro] prepared the coup," he was quoted as saying.

Refusing to accept his election loss to Lula, thousands of Bolsonaro's supporters broke into the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court buildings in Brasilia a week after Lula's inauguration. The president was not in the capital at the time.

The accusations against Bolsonaro - who is in the US state of Florida in late December - came on the same day that a Brazilian senator accused the former president of attending a meeting on how to prevent a transfer of power.

According to Senator Marcos do Val, the plan was to force the president of the Superior Electoral Court, Alexandre de Moraes, to make an incriminating statement while secretly recording him.

De Moraes is one of the targets of Bolsonaro's supporters, who claim that he interfered in the election to help Lula.

De Val, a former ally of Bolsonaro, initially said it was Bolsonaro who presented him with the plan, but later changed his story, saying the former president had been "silent" during the meeting.

Bolsonaro, who applied for a six-month visa to stay in the United States, is being questioned as part of a wider investigation into the January 8 attack.

Brazilian Senator Marcos de Val said on Thursday that a close ally of Bolsonaro tried to convince him to join a plot to overturn the far-right leader's election defeat last year.

De Val said he had been invited to a meeting on Dec. 9 with Bolsonaro by his associate, former lawmaker Daniel Silveira. At the meeting, Silveira asked the senator to try to get the head of the electoral court to make compromising comments in a taped conversation, do Val said.

The senator told reporters that Bolsonaro "sat in silence" while Silveira laid out the plot against Justice Alexandre de
Moraes, a Supreme Court judge running Brazil's top electoral authority (TSE). 

News magazine Veja, which first reported the alleged plot, published the audio on Thursday in which de Val said he heard details of the plot directly from Bolsonaro at a Dec. 9 meeting.  

Lula, who was sworn in on January 1, has blasted his predecessor's egregious mishandling of the country's affairs during his tenure, saying he received a "ruined country" whose former government had depleted all resources and undermined human rights.

The leftist leader has also accused Bolsonaro's "negationist" administration of committing "genocide" by failing to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed more than 680,000 Brazilians.

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