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Pressure mounts on Bolsonaro over political interference after weekend of police attacks on protests

PRESSURE is continuing to mount on Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro after the country’s federal police (PF) demanded he be summoned by the Supreme Court over allegations of political interference.

The PF is demanding a formal statement regarding his sacking of police chief Mauricio Valeixo and allegations that the president pressed for the removal of other figures to protect his family from investigations.

Leaked footage from an April 22 cabinet meeting have proved damning for Mr Bolsonaro, who has consistently denied the allegations against him.

One of his sons, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, is under investigation over allegations of money laundering and embezzlement.

The other, Rio city councillor Carlos Bolsonaro, is accused of “running a criminal disinformation campaign” targeting critics.

The two-hour expletive-ridden video of the meeting appears to show the president suggesting he can replace ministers and officials as he sees fit.

“I’ve tried to change our security people in Rio de Janeiro officially, and I wasn’t able to. That’s over. I won’t wait for my family or my friends to get screwed,” Mr Bolsonaro said.

“If you can’t change [the official], change his boss. You can’t change the boss? Change the minister. End of story. We’re not kidding around,” he added.

The spat that followed led to the resignation of former justice minister Sergio Moro, once a key ally of the Brazilian president.

He himself is embroiled in a scandal in which he allegedly directed the prosecution in the case against left-wing former Brazilian president “Lula” da Silva, who was jailed and subsequently banned from standing in the 2018 presidential election.

The PF insisted that “Bolsonaro’s statement is necessary for the proper course of the investigation” and urged the Supreme Court to consider the video footage and an “analysis of the mobile-phone messages” between him and Mr Moro.

Mr Bolsonaro also faces possible impeachment charges over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

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