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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Danielle Chaves

Lula fires Brazil’s top army chief Arruda after riots in capital

Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dismissed the nation’s top army commander on Saturday, two weeks after rioters stormed public buildings in the capital, Brasilia.

Julio Cesar de Arruda will be replaced by Tomas Miguel Ribeiro Paiva, currently chief of the army in the country’s southeast region, according to local media. Paiva released a video on the Southeast Region Command’s official YouTube channel on Friday in which he said presidential election results should be respected.

The decision to replace Arruda was made one day after Lula met with him and other armed forces commanders in Brasilia. The president is looking to punish people he believes failed to stop the Jan. 8 riots, even at the risk of ruining an already fragile relationship with the military.

The dismissal contrasts with the softer approach adopted by Lula’s defense minister, Jose Mucio, who talked about “turning the page” on the riots. Mucio told journalists after Friday’s meeting that Lula believed in the work of armed forces commanders.

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