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Protests in Brazil after Lula Appointed Chief of Staff

17 March 2016 14:48


Protests erupted across Brazilian cities after President Dilma Rousseff appointed her predecessor Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva as chief of staff and a taped conversation fed opposition claims the move was meant to shield the former leader from prosecution.

Tens of thousands of protesters on Wednesday took to the streets of the capital Brasilia and Sao Paulo, the country’s financial hub, demanding Rousseff’s resignation.

Critics said Lula’s appointment as chief of staff could help him avoid possible detention in an expanding corruption investigation that has now touched the top of Brazil’s political leadership.

“Brazil cannot continue with them anymore,” opposition politician Rubens Bueno said. “They are using their positions to stay in power at all cost.”

But Rousseff rejected the accusations, saying Lula was chosen for his experience and strong record of championing sound economic policies, Al Jazeera reported.

“He is going to help; we are going to look at returning to growth, fiscal stability and controlling inflation,” Rousseff said.

Meanwhile, the federal judge overseeing the graft probe said in a court filing released on Wednesday that taped telephone conversations showed Lula and Rousseff considered trying to influence prosecutors and courts in favor of the former president.

He admitted, however, there was no evidence they actually carried this out. One recording, made public by the court, showed Rousseff offering to send Lula a copy of his appointment “in case it was necessary”.

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