March 27, 2019 / 12:08 AM / 3 months ago

Brazil prosecutor opposes president on commemoration of coup

FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends the Prosur summit of South American leaders, in Santiago, Chile, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Esteban Garay

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said it was opposed to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to allow the armed forces to officially commemorate the 55th anniversary of Brazil’s military coup this weekend.

“The coup d’état of 1964 ... was a violent and undemocratic rupture of the constitutional order,” the citizens’ rights defender’s office, which is part of the federal prosecutor’s office, said in a statement.

“If repeated in the present times, the conduct of the military and civilian forces that promoted the coup would be characterized as a ... crime against the constitutional order and the democratic state.”

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Bolsonaro’s spokesman said the president planned to allow the military to commemorate on Sunday the beginning of the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship, which the former army captain has long idolized.

Despite Bolsonaro’s move, no public displays by the military are expected, although events may take place behind closed doors in Brazil’s barracks.

Some Brazilian conservatives and members of Brazil’s military view March 31 as the day they liberated the country from the threat of communist usurpation, but many other Brazilians view it as a dark period that resulted in human rights abuses, disappearances and the murder of political activists.

Sunday will be the first time since 2011 that the military will officially commemorate the date.

Former President Dilma Rousseff, a one-time leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured during the regime, ordered the military to halt commemorations when she took office.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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