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Bolsonaro has said he will not lead the opposition if he returns to Brazil for the first time since the unrest

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday he would no longer lead the country’s opposition as he flew home for the first time since his election defeat, which ended with thousands of his supporters protesting the result.

Bolsonaro, who denies calling for the violent attacks in the Brazilian capital on January 8, has faced investigations over his alleged involvement, among other legal issues, since his return. Meanwhile, Brazilian authorities said security measures were being stepped up and urged supporters not to meet the former leader at Brazilian airports on Thursday morning.

Speaking to CNN affiliate CNN Brasil at Florida’s Orlando Airport late Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he would not lead the opposition to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva on his return – despite the support of conservative activists and right-wing extremist groups during his three-month stay in the US.

“You don’t have to oppose this government. This government itself is the opposition,” Bolsonaro told CNN, Brasil.

Instead, Bolsonaro said he plans to help his center-right Liberal Party “as a man of experience” by working with “whatever it pleases,” CNN Brasil quoted the former president. He added that he would be touring the country in preparation for next year’s local elections.

Bolsonaro’s return comes amid deep political divisions in Brazil, having left the country last December, just days before Lula took office.

Despite condemning his supporters’ invasion of Brazil, he welcomed the peaceful demonstrations days after the election when his party called for inspections of voting machines for alleged fraud. He gave his supporters misinformation about voter fraud and made cryptic comments about a possible coup.

The attacks in Brazil are similar to January 6, 2021, riots at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, when supporters of former US President Donald Trump – a close ally of Bolsonaro – stormed Congress to prevent his presidential election, which the President was sure to lose.

Brazil’s Supreme Court is investigating Bolsonaro’s alleged involvement in unrest in Brazil to find out who or how right-wing mobs supporting the former leader looted government headquarters.

Bolsonaro is also being investigated over jewelry he allegedly received as gifts from the Saudi government during his tenure. On Wednesday, he denied any “irregularities” and said “the objects were registered,” reported CNN Brasil.

Brazilian federal prosecutors are also investigating whether Bolsonaro attempted to bring two sets of diamond jewelry into the country without paying import taxes.

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