Operation Accelerare began in May this year following an anonymous complaint about the existence of extremist and neo-Nazi groups in Rio Grande do Sul. From then on, the first phase of the operation was put into practice in which three suspects — already monitored by the Police Station to Combat Intolerance (DPCI) and the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin)—they were arrested in the act.
The second phase of the operation took place in June, when cell phones and computers were seized. Based on the data extracted from the devices, with the support of experts from the General Institute of Expertise (IGP), neo-Nazi cells with extremist, separatist and racist characteristics were identified. It was also possible to identify members of these groups and their leaders, taking the operation to its third phase.
“To date, seven people have been arrested and a teenage offender has been seized, as well as materials and symbols apologizing for Nazism, SS uniforms, bladed weapons, simulacra firearms and fascist and Nazi literature”, says the note from the Ministry of Justice.
The number of investigations opened into alleged incitement to neo-Nazism has increased since 2019, with a “significant increase” in 2023: 21 investigations into the alleged manufacture, sale, distribution or display of swastikas “with the aim of propagating Nazism” were opened until June this year, compared to just one in 2018, the year in which Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of the Republic.
Entities such as the Brazilian Israeli Confederation (Conib) point to a growth in extremist groups, most of them neo-Nazis. Unicamp researchers, in turn, have tracked a more than ten-fold increase in the number of neo-Nazi cells in Brazil since 2015.
The problem of neo-Nazism is particularly acute in the south of the country, where a large part of the population has German and Italian ancestry.