A Brazilian Supreme Court judge on Wednesday issued a four-day ban on carrying firearms in the capital as a precaution ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva.
In his ruling temporarily suspending the licenses of registered gun owners, Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote that in recent weeks “terrorist groups financed by shameless magnates” have committed crimes against the rule of law, requiring public safety to be ensured via a temporary gun ban.
According to the verdict, if a registered gun owner is caught with a firearm in Brasilia during those four days, they can be prosecuted for illegally carrying a gun.
Lula da Silva’s team had applied for a firearms ban on Inauguration Day after police arrested a man on suspicion of planting and possessing explosive devices at Brasilia International Airport.
The suspect, identified as 54-year-old gas station manager George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, is a supporter of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and told police in a statement seen on CNN that he intended to “create chaos.” prevent Lula da Silva from taking office again in January.
The gun ban was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) on Wednesday and run through the end of Sunday. It does not apply to active members of the armed forces, police officers and private security forces, Moraes wrote.
Although Bolsonaro’s government has said it will cooperate in the transfer of power, the far-right leader has not explicitly acknowledged his October 30 election defeat. Thousands of his supporters have gathered in military barracks across the country in protest, asking the army to intervene, claiming without any evidence that the election was stolen.
According to the police statement, Sousa arrived in Brasilia from his home state of Para on Oct. 12 to join other Bolsonaro supporters who were camped in front of the armed forces’ headquarters in the city.
Sousa said he was inspired by President Bolsonaro to say he spent over $30,000 to buy the guns and ammunition. CNN has reached out to Bolsonaro for comment.
Violence erupted in the country ahead of Lula da Silva’s inauguration.
In mid-December, police clashed in the capital, Brasilia, when they tried to enter a federal police building after an outspoken Bolsonaro supporter was arrested.