Brazil police fire tear gas at peacefull Sao Paulo protests
Brazilian police have clashed with demonstrators in Sao Paulo, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to peacefully protest against the newly-installed president Michel Temer.
The rally, attended by at least 50,000 people on Sunday, suddenly turned violent after riot police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon, which caused panic among people.
Police said they were forced to take measures in a bid to prevent vandalism at the end of the rally.
It was a record number of protesters, who took part in a rally only in Sao Paulo, since Temer was sworn in on Wednesday to replace former president Dilma Rousseff who was ousted in an impeachment trial.
Temer, former vice president, is scheduled to remain in office for what it would have been the rest of Rousseff’s second term through 2018.
The demonstrators, however, called for new elections as they chanted “Out with Temer!”
Demonstrations were also held in the capital Rio de Janeiro, and other Brazilian cities, including Curitiba on Sunday.
Temer, who was in China for the summit of leaders from G20 nations, played down the wave of protests. At a news conference on the sidelines of the summit, he said the protesters were “small groups, not popular movements of any size.”
“Causing destruction is a crime. That’s not a demonstration,” he said, warning that those who damaged property would be punished.
In remarks on Friday, Rousseff vowed to form a strong opposition against Temer. She also said that she would raise her voice if he tried to suppress the protests.
Rousseff has appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision on her ouster. The court has, however, so far rejected several appeals during the months-long impeachment process.
Rousseff was accused of breaking fiscal rules in her management of the 2014 federal budget, allegations that she strongly rejected. She consistently called the impeachment a coup d’état and denounced Temer as a “usurper.”