A possible mutiny in the military police in support of President Jair Bolsonaro’s (non-party) government in the September 7 demonstrations has been sparked by active and retired police officers, associations that bring together officers working in state military forces and by deputies from the “bullet bench”.
Last Monday night (23), the National Association of State Military Personnel of Brazil (Amebrasil) released a statement stating that the Military Police will follow the Army in the case of “internal defense or institutional rupture (state of siege or defense) ”.
In the statement, the association invokes article 144 of the Federal Constitution to affirm that the military police are responsible for “security and public order”. The statement was published by the president of Amebrasil, colonel of the DF Military Police (PMDF) Marcos Antônio Nunes de Oliveira.
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“They are assigned (to the police), in the field of internal defense or in the event of an institutional breakdown (state of siege or defense), to compose the national mobilization effort to defend the homeland, guarantee constitutional powers and guarantee the law and the order”, says the note
“In these cases, the military police will automatically be summoned by the federal ground force to act in this context as an auxiliary and reserve force for the Army”, says the entity.
In a report published on Monday, the Poder360 website described the movement of WhatsApp groups of agents from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and stated that soldiers and officers from active and retired people talk about “demanding” power, fighting against communism and demand the removal of the justices of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) from their positions.
In one of the groups, police officers agreed to attend the demonstration on Avenida Paulista wearing the corporation’s berets, an idea supported by the other contacts, who identify themselves as captains and sublieutenants of Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar (Rota), an elite group of the São Paulo Military Police PaulO.
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According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, in an article published this Tuesday (24), the call for the demonstration takes place on social networks by police officers of varying ranks, in different states. The survey pointed out publications made by officials from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, Espírito Santo, Ceará and Paraíba.
The UOL website also published this Tuesday that military police officers from cities in the interior of São Paulo, such as Itapetininga, Presidente Prudente, Ribeirão Preto, Bauru and Campinas are organizing to attend the demonstration en masse.
According to information from deputy Colonel Tadeu (PSL-SP), there are already “at least 50 buses rented” by category in these cities. In some of them, he says, PMs are receiving “support” from merchants to pay for their seats, costing between 30 and 100 reais.
state governments react
On Monday morning (23), the governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), removed the active colonel Aleksander Lacerda from the São Paulo Military Police. The measure took place as a result of a publication on social networks in which the official summoned São Paulo police officers for the September 7 protests.
The Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories questioned the command of the Military Police in Brasília about the corporation’s plans for September 7th. The prosecution wants to know if the PM’s intelligence has information from force agents who intend to participate in the demonstrations. The request, according to a note from the MP, was made due to planning by military police from other states.
Absence of punishment encourages officers
The lawyer Martim Arantes, a specialist in Human Rights, who works in the debate on public security in the south of the state of Bahia, told the Brazil in fact that the case of the São Paulo Military Police colonel removed by Doria illustrates an absence of punishment for party-political positions of the military.
“The insubordination of the colonel of São Paulo, in which he challenges the governor, legally responsible for the corporation and with the highest position in the State’s Miltar Police, shows this freedom that was granted to the military. There are gaps in punishment that cause the police believe that he can act and position himself in a deliberate way without respect for hierarchy,” he says.
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Arantes also points out that the lack of accountability of the military in the post-Military Dictatorship period deepened the sense of impunity among officers. According to him, the presence of police officers in demonstrations with official props and equipment is a factor of concern.
“The current situation of the Military Police and the Armed Forces in Brazil with this political-partisan involvement, with their presence in acts, in demonstrations, is quite worrying. This brings us back to the end of the years of the Dictatorship. It is necessary to understand that, after the period, dictatorial, governments and Brazilian society did not reframe and harshly criticize the actions of the Armed Forces and the police. This allowed them to be empowered in a way that they are close to breaking the dictates of the Constitution itself,” he declared.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla