By Kristen Nozell, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Recent reports by major news outlet O Globo indicate a link between a political opposition party and the protesters that have been active across Rio. The report indicates civil police have requested a breach of bank secrecy to continue an investigation into the suspected recruiting of activists by members of the Party of the Republic (Partido de República, or PR).

Protesters in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazl News
Protesters in Rio last month, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

The PR party opposes Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral, the target of many anti-government protests. The investigation will specifically look into the financial behavior of Sebastião Rodrigues Machado Júnior, known by his nickname Nayt, an aide to state representative Geraldo Pudim, and other PR members suspected of supporting “professional” activists.

The inquiry began five months ago and has reportedly found evidence that Nayt acted as an intermediary between PR congressmen such as Anthony Garotinho and a group protestors. The politicians are suspected of funding these “professional” activists, primarily through purchasing supplies such as food and tents.

Specifically, the alleged funding was directed at propping up the Occupy Cabral and Occupy Chamber movements that set up camp outside Cabral’s residence in Leblon and Rio’s municipal chamber in recent months.

The specific demonstrators allegedly incentivized by the PR are primarily from the north and northeast of Brazil, and include Jair Rodrigues Seixas, who has been arrested seven times since the demonstrations began several months ago in the city.

A former party member, Harry Anderson Grutzmacher, provided a testimonial in the investigation that top party officials were involved in the scheme to recruit protestors, but the case, which is run by the General Department of Specialized Police (Departamento Geral de Polícia Especializada, or DGPE), is yet unresolved.

The politicians suspected of involvement also include PR Executive Secretary Fernando Peregrino, who denied any recruiting of demonstrators. As reported in O Globo, Pelegrino stated that “there is no such thing as the party paying militants. The street demonstrations occurred due to dissatisfaction with governments and politicians.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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