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Brazil's Bolsonaro picture next to suspect in activist's murder is 'coincidence', police say

Brazil's Bolsonaro picture next to suspect in activist's murder is 'coincidence', police say
The odd connections between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and two former military police suspected of murdering activist Marielle Franco are coincidences, cops have claimed after taking nearly a year to arrest the men.

A photo of Bolsonaro with murder suspect Elcio Vieira de Queiroz dating back to 2011 went viral on social media after it was published on de Queiroz's Facebook account, which has since been deleted. While only the bottom half of his face is visible, Bolsonaro didn't claim it wasn't him in the photo, instead merely stating, "I've had my picture taken with thousands of soldiers all over Brazil."

The fact that suspect #2 – Ronnie Lessa – lives in the same condo complex as Bolsonaro in the upscale Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca is also a coincidence, the police said, claiming it has "little to do with the Marielle affair."

"There is no direct relationship with the Bolsonaro family, we've discovered nothing," police said, before a journalist's question prompted them to acknowledge a romantic relationship between Lessa's daughter and one of Bolsonaro's sons. However, they said, "that's not important for us at the moment."

De Queiroz and Lessa, both former military policemen, were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of the murder of Franco, a black gay rights activist and councilwoman who spoke out against police brutality and on behalf of the poor. She was killed along with her chauffeur, Anderson Gomes, in a drive-by shooting prosecutors say was planned three months in advance.

Bolsonaro himself sees no significance in any connections between himself and the alleged killers, saying "the most important thing is to know who ordered this murder."

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De Queiroz was fired from the military police in 2011 (around the same time he was photographed with Bolsonaro) after he was arrested as part of Operation Guillotine, a sting operation probing police involvement with drug traffickers and militia groups. Lessa retired after he was injured in a bomb explosion.