Brasilia rioters likely had inside help: President Lula

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Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday that rioters who sacked the presidential palace over the weekend likely had inside help.

Lula told reporters he had ordered a “thorough review” of palace staff after Sunday’s violent uprising, which saw backers of his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro storm the presidency, Congress and Supreme Court.

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“I am convinced that the door of the Planalto (presidential) palace was opened for people to enter because there are no broken doors,” he said in Brasilia.

“This means that someone facilitated their entry,” said Lula, who is dealing with the aftermath of the violent reaction by so-called “bolsonaristas” to his brand-new presidential term.

The rioters looted offices, destroyed priceless works of art and left graffiti messages calling for a military coup in their wake.

“We will investigate calmly to see what really happened,” said Lula, who defeated Bolsonaro by a razor-thin margin in an October vote that followed a deeply divisive campaign.

Authorities are seeking to determine who planned and financed the riots for which more than 1,000 people have been arrested.

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