Pro-Bolsonaro protesters request safe conduct in demonstrations against Supreme Court

supreme court protests occupation
For the past three days, Bolsonaro supporters have occupied the Three Powers Square, in central Brasília. Photo: Mateus Bonomi/Agif/Folhapress

Retired prosecutor Wilson Koressawa, who acts as legal advisor to the organizers of pro-Bolsonaro protest camps on the Esplanade of Ministries in Brasília, filed a habeas corpus request at the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) this morning to prohibit demonstrators from being arrested or removed from their camp until September 20.

After major protests on Tuesday, a few hundred demonstrators have remained on the Esplanade, harassing civil servants going about their business in the capital. On Wednesday, pro-Bolsonaro militants tried to storm the Health Ministry’s headquarters and there have been several attempts at invading the Supreme Court building — all of which have been unsuccessful.

Mr. Koressawa’s habeas corpus request is directed at Ibaneis Rocha, governor of Brazil’s Federal District, whose military police forces have stood in the way of pro-Bolsonaro protesters who have sought to invade the so-called Three Powers Square in central Brasília. 

Mr. Korassawa had filed an almost identical request to the Supreme Court in August, which was assigned to Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes — the bête noire of President Bolsonaro and his supporters.

As Justice Moraes was mentioned directly in the case, he abstained from the ruling and it was passed on to his colleague Gilmar Mendes, who has yet to make a decision.

Today’s plea is equally likely to fall on deaf ears in the STJ. At the beginning of this month, STJ Justice Laurita Vaz declared that it is impossible to grant habeas corpus in the absence of an explicit threat to freedom of expression. In that particular case, Ms. Vaz ruled against a request from two citizens who sought freedom to protest on September 7 without the risk of being arrested.