On Monday, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the arrest of six members of the far-right activist group “300 do Brasil” including leader Sarah Winter. The arrest was issued within the scope of an investigation of anti-democratic protests.
The group has organized multiple protests demanding the closure of the Federal Supreme Court and the National Congress. They also support military intervention to allow the executive power to have more centralized control of the country.
The investigation seeks to inquire about a possible violation of the National Security Law. The Brazilian Constitution prohibits “financing and the propagation of ideas contrary to the constitutional order and the Democratic State” said Alexandre de Moraes.
The anti-democratic protests have also brought attention due to the use of neo-Nazi and other far-right symbols. Torches and masks were used as imitating the Ku Klux Klan aesthetic. Others have also used the Pravy Sektor’s flag, a far-right nationalist Ukrainian group.
Sara Winter is also being investigating for creating fake news and threatening Alexandre de Moraes. Winter promised to make Alexandre de Moraes’ life a “living hell”.
Some weeks ago, Sara Winter also admitted to BBC that they possess firearms. This has created great concern due to the possibility of paramilitary activities. Yet, she has denied this claim and argued that they possess them for self-defense.
In an interview with BBC News Brazil, historian Federico Finchelstein, an expert on radicalism and populism, claimed that the group should cause us concern. He claimed that the group itself may not necessarily be dangerous, but that they are a symptom of Bolsonaro’s antidemocratic drive.
Finchelstein also argues that the group shows the common characteristics of a group that follows this type of leader: ‘they sound extreme, defend militarism, attack institutions and show contempt for minorities’.
While Brazil continues to accumulate COVID-19 cases with almost 1 million cases, far-right groups like “300 do Brasil” continue to organize protests to defend militarism and attack academic and epidemiological institutions.
Tensions between the Supreme Court Justice and these antidemocratic groups continue rising. If the court fails to control the situation, it will not be long before the situation turns violent.
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