Brazil prosecutors arrest Bolsonaro supporter after threats
SAO PAULO (AP) — The leader of a group that backs Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was detained Monday, accused of raising funds for anti-democratic actions that could threaten the country’s national security.
Prosecutors didn’t immediately give details about the allegations against Sara Fernanda Giromini, better known as Sara Winter, though she has publicly threatened to punch a Supreme Court justice on several occasions. The arrest warrant authorizes authorities to hold her for five days while she is investigated.
The order, signed by Justice Alexandre de Morais, also requests the arrests of five other individuals who were yet to be identified.
Giromini, a 27-year-old former feminist turned anti-abortion campaigner, leads a group, “Brazil’s 300,” that has staged demonstrations vociferously defending Bolsonaro’s conservative policies and denouncing the Supreme Court and Congress for blocking them.
Brazil’s top prosecutors’ office said in a statement that “the objective of the arrests is to hear the investigated and gather information on how the criminal scheme works.”
A post on Giromini’s Twitter account Monday said the arrest means, “It is official: to support Jair Bolsonaro is a crime.”
“Sara Winter was arrested because of an investigation on the financing of anti-democratic protests,” it added. “That’s right, demonstrations in which seniors, children, handicapped, women came to the support of President Bolsonaro.”
On May 30 Giromini led a few dozen people on a torchlit march to the Supreme Court to protest an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to spread defamatory and threatening social media posts about justices. Giromini was among the people named in the probe.
On Saturday members of her group set off fireworks in the direction of court building, hours after police cleared away one of the group’s encampments from the area.
Prosecutors said in their request to remove the camp that Giromini’s group is a risk.
“The presence of armed militias in the central region of the country’s capital represents unequivocal damage to order and public security,” the Brasilia-based prosecutors said.
Giromini acknowledged that many of her supporters carried weapons, but said they were only for self-defense.