Who is ‘Zé Trovão’, the pro-Bolsonaro trucker leader, outlawed from justice

RIO — Known as Zé Trovão, truck driver Marcos Antônio Pereira Gomes was located by the Federal Police hiding in a hotel in Mexico and is expected to be arrested this Thursday, and then transported back to Brazil. The YouTuber from São Paulo used to live in Joinville (SC) and gained prominence among pocket members after producing videos with attacks against the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and minister Alexandre de Moraes.

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Zé Trovão had his arrest order decreed by Moraes, at the request of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), in the inquiry that investigates the financing and summoning of anti-democratic acts. On the 3rd of this month, the minister decreed the preventive detention of Marcos Antônio.

Zé Trovão was the owner of the YouTube channel “Zé Trovão the voice of the roads”, which, before being taken off the air, had more than 40 thousand subscribers. In his videos and posts, he called the population to go to Brasília and demanded the “resignation of the 11 STF ministers”. In other publications, he made attacks on Covid’s CPI, in the Senate, in addition to having participated in “motorcycles” in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro. The truck leader had already been the target of a search and seizure last month, in August, in the same inquiry.

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In the inquiry, Moraes emphasizes that “the artist, aiming to affront and summon the powers that be, reports, together with Zé Trovão and Eduardo Araújo, that his group intends for the country for 72 hours and that if the president of the Federal Senate ‘does nothing ‘, in the other 72 hours ‘no one walks[rá] in the country. According to the singer “everything will stop. Not [….] only Brasilia, […] the country. He assures that ‘nothing has ever been the same as what will happen’ and, in the end, challenges the justices of the Supreme Court: ‘If they do not comply with the request, the snake will smoke’, he asserted, in a threatening tone”, he reports in the file .

The PF confirmed in a note that the preventive detention of the accused was “with the objective of deepening ongoing investigations in the investigation files that are being processed in that Court”. The minister even determined in August that Wellington Marcedo, a blogger arrested for threatening the court, and Zé Trovão should communicate.

Despite having been banned from using social media, Zé Trovão and Macedo participated in a video transmission made by pocket blogger Oswaldo Eustáquio. As O GLOBO showed in the video, Zé Trovão continued to incite acts against the Supreme Court.

Zé Trovão circumvents STF ban and makes new incitement on social network Photo: Reproduction/YouTube
Zé Trovão circumvents STF ban and makes new incitement on social network Photo: Reproduction/YouTube

Even with the arrest voice issued against him, the truck driver still participated in a live broadcast this Friday night alongside pastor Jane Silva and Renato Gomes.

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On the live, Macedo and Zé Trovão once again summoned people to the demonstrations on September 7th. The truck driver stated that he would participate in the acts, although he was banned by Moraes decision. He even challenged the Federal Police to arrest him: “get ready, my friend, because if they want to arrest me on September 7th, they will arrest me among the people”. On Saturday (4), after the arrest warrant, he published a video directly provoking Moraes: “how about you come to Paulista on September 7 and arrest me?”.

YouTuber did not post images of him in the pro-government acts this Tuesday. PF investigators had been tracking Zé Trovão’s whereabouts since Wednesday of last week, when Moraes issued an arrest warrant against him. The police detected that he had left Brazil before the arrest warrant, via a flight to Mexico, and was staying in a hotel in Mexico City.

Truck driver is investigated in the inquiry into undemocratic acts
Truck driver is investigated in the inquiry into undemocratic acts

Even as a fugitive, Zé Trovão continued recording videos and inciting the acts of September 7th. In recent days, he has asked truckers to close the highways, which has been happening since yesterday. Earlier, before being arrested, he questioned the veracity of an audio by the president asking truck drivers to clear the highways.

This Thursday, Zé Trovão himself released a video on his social networks stating that he had been located and that he would turn himself in to be arrested.