BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazil’s attorney general’s office has filed its first charges against some of the thousands of people who authorities say they broke in government buildings in an effort to overturn former President Jair Bolsonaro’s defeat in October’s elections.

Prosecutors from the newly formed group to combat anti-democratic acts also requested that the 39 defendants who looted Congress be jailed as a preventive measure and that 40 million reais ($7.7 million) of their assets be frozen to help cover the damage.

The defendants have been charged with armed criminal association, violent attempt to subvert the democratic rule of law, carrying out a coup and damaging public property, the attorney general’s office said in a statement written Monday by the night. Their identities have not yet been revealed.

More than a thousand people were arrested on the day of the riots on January 8, which had strong similarities to the January 6, 2021, riots in the US Congress by mobs who wanted to overturn former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the November election.

The rioters who stormed the Brazilian Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in the capital, Brasilia, wanted the armed forces to intervene and overturn Bolsonaro’s defeat to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The rioters “attempted, through the use of violence and serious threats, to abolish the democratic rule of law, by preventing or restricting the exercise of constitutional powers,” according to an excerpt of the charges included in a statement. «The ultimate goal of the attack…was the installation of an alternative government regime.»

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro review papers on a desk after storming the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 8, 2023.
Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro go through papers on a desk after storming the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on January 8.Eraldo Perez / AP

The attackers were not charged with terrorism because, under Brazilian law, such a charge must imply xenophobia or prejudice based on race, ethnicity or religion.

The attorney general’s office sent its charges to the Supreme Court after Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco last week provided a list of people accused of disrupting Congress. Other rioters are expected to be charged.