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Brazil's President Lula says he suspects insiders assisted palace attack

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Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks to reporters after a meeting with lawmakers at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on Monday. Photo courtesy of the Brazilian President Press Office/UPI
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks to reporters after a meeting with lawmakers at Planalto Palace in Brasilia on Monday. Photo courtesy of the Brazilian President Press Office/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he will step up the screening process for employees in the presidential palace over suspicions that loyalists of former president Jail Bolsonaro assisted in the attack on government buildings.

Some 1,500 protesters have been arrested in connection to demonstrations that turned violent and destructive this week.

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"I am convinced that the door to the Planalto palace was opened so these people could get in, because I didn't see the front door had been broken down. And that means that somebody facilitated their entry here," said Lula, according to BBC.

Lula said he believes some military police also were involved, vowing that no "hardcore" Bolsonaro supporter can be allowed to remain working within the palace.

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"How can I have someone at the door of my office who might shoot me?" he asked.

The president added that he is "convinced" doors were purposely unlocked to allow insurrectionists to enter three government buildings.

When Lula met with governors on Monday, he was critical of the response from law enforcement, going as far as accusing them of neglecting potential threats. He also said Justice Minister Anderson Torres acted with "incompetence."

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More than 70 people were injured during the civil unrest in Brazil and at least six suffered injuries considered severe.

Bolsonaro's supporters began to disperse on Monday following threats of more arrests.

Lula defeated Bolsonaro in Brazil's presidential runoff election in October, edging past the incumbent narrowly with 50.9% of the vote. Bolsonaro has maintained unfounded accusations that compromised voting equipment was at fault for his election loss, fanning the flames of unrest for his staunchest supporters.

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Unrest turned into violence in the week following Lula's inauguration, which took place on Jan. 1.

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