Pro-Bolsonaro police colonel suspended for anti-democratic remarks

President Bolsonaro during a visit to police forces. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR
President Bolsonaro during a visit to police headquarters. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

São Paulo Governor João Doria suspended military police colonel Aleksander Toaldo Lacerda, after he had summoned his social media friends to attend a pro-government demonstration scheduled to take place in Brasília on September 7, Brazil’s Independence Day

“The military police of the state of São Paulo informs that Colonel Aleksander Toaldo Lacerda has been removed from his duties at the head of Interior Police Command-7,” read a state government press release.

Col. Toledo — who leads seven platoons of 5,000 men responsible for 78 municipalities in the state — posted on Facebook that “one doesn’t get freedom handed to them, one must take it for oneself,” while calling his followers to attend the September 7 protest and saying Brazil’s political crisis can only be solved with a “tank.”

The colonel also attacked Mr. Doria, his commander-in-chief, calling him an “Indian strain,” in reference to the highly-contagious Delta coronavirus variant. Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco and former House Speaker Rodrigo Maia were also targeted by the colonel’s insults, being called a “coward” and “mobster,” respectively.

Col. Lacerda’s declarations are the latest case of support for President Bolsonaro seeping into the country’s military police forces. Retired military personnel from the states of São Paulo and Ceará have also summoned military police veterans to participate in the September 7 demonstration, which the Federal Prosecution Service has called an “attempted uprising.”