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    Brazil’s army chief fired in aftermath of capital uprising

    BRASILIA, BRAZIL (AP) – President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fired Brazil’s army chief on Saturday just days after the leftist leader openly said that some military members allowed the January 8 uprising in the capital by far-right protesters.

    The official website of the Brazilian armed forces said General Julio Cesar de Arruda had been removed as head of the army.

    He was replaced by General Tomás Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, who was head of the Southeast Military Command. Lula, who did not comment publicly on the firing, met with Defence Minister Jose Mucio, chief of staff Rui Costa and the new army commander in Brasilia at the end of the day.

    Speaking to journalists afterward, Mucio said the January 8 riots had caused “a fracture in the level of trust” in the army’s top levels and the government decided a change was needed.

    In recent weeks, Lula targetted the military with criticism after supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed through government buildings and destroyed public property in an attempt to keep Bolsonaro in office.

    The uprising underlined the polarisation in Brazil between the left and the right.

    Lula said several times in public that there were definitely people in the army who allowed the rioting to occur, though he never cited Arruda.

    A vehicle parked outside the Brazilian Supreme Court building, damaged by protestors in Brasilia, Brazil. PHOTO: AP
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