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Police fire tear gas at anti-Rousseff protesters in Brasilia

18 March 2016 14:39



Police in Brazil have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse angry protesters demanding the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff after she gave her predecessor and ally a top position in the cabinet.

Thousands of people marched outside the presidential palace and the National Congress in the capital Brasilia late Thursday to voice their anger at corruption scandals within Rousseff’s government.

Protesters also clashed with supporters of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva outside the presidential palace, where he was sworn in as chief of staff to Rousseff earlier in the day.

Similar demonstrations also took place in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Protesters believe the appointment will shield Lula, who is charged with money laundering and corruption, from prosecution.

Rousseff’s Workers Party (PT) also called on her supporters to stage counter-demonstrations in over 30 cities across the country on Friday.

Protesters gather in front of the presidential palace in Brasilia on March 17, 2016. (©AFP)

Right after Lula’s swearing-in ceremony, federal judge Itagiba Catta Preta issued an injunction suspending his nomination to the post or any other governmental positions over allegations that Rousseff was seeking to protect him from his charges.

However, government lawyers immediately launched an appeal against the preliminary ruling that applies until a definitive court verdict on the matter.

Meanwhile, the lower house of Congress set up a committee to look into the impeachment of Rousseff over fraud allegations in a separate case.

The president is accused of having doctored government accounts in 2014 in order to increase public spending as a means of wooing votes for re-election.

Rousseff has, until now, rejected demands for her resignation and blamed the opposition for the ongoing political crisis.

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