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27 May 2017, 02:09 | Cedric Leonard
Troops deployed after Brazilian protesters smash Govt buildings
The government of President Michel Temer briefly deployed federal troops to restore order after demonstrators calling for his ouster clashed with security forces.
Demonstrators set fire to the Agriculture Ministry during a protest against President Michel Temer and the latest corruption scandal to hit the country, in Brasilia, Brazil, May 24, 2017.
After having been harshly criticized for authorizing 1,500 soldiers to take to the capital's streets, Temer revoked the order after an emergency meeting at the Planalto Palace.
Though Deutsche Welle notes the deployment of about 1,500 troops had been originally meant to last a week, he revoked the order by midday Thursday, citing a "halt to acts of destruction and violence and the subsequent reestablishment of law and order".
It was the most violent protest in Brasilia since anti-government demonstrations in 2013 and fueled a political crisis sparked by allegations Temer condoned paying off a potential witness in a massive corruption probe. No one was caught by the fire, as the building had been evacuated earlier in the day, but 49 got injured in the confrontations. If the court rules that it did, Temer may be stripped of the presidency.
Temer faces accusations of corruption and obstruction of justice. Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said the army will leave the streets considering that the order has returned to the city now. But he has been reeling since the release of a secret recording that appears to reveal him endorsing the payment of hush money to an imprisoned former political ally. However, he said Temer would be consulted in the case he is pushed out and there is an election.
After the government said it had implemented the measure on the request of the president of the Lower Chamber, Rodrigo Maia, he said he had in fact requested the National Force to intervene, a mixed military troop frequently used in urban operations, not the Army. His office said Temer turned to the military after police were overwhelmed. The PSDB's own leading member and presidential candidate, who placed a close second to Rousseff in the 2014 presidential election, has been stripped of his Senate seat and ordered to surrender his passport as prosecutors prepare to order his jailing over related corruption charges.
Associated Press photographer Eraldo Peres reported this story in Brasilia and AP writer Mauricio Savarese reported from Rio de Janeiro.
Late Wednesday, Temer's office issued a statement saying the move was necessary after violence had put the lives and safety of public servants at risk.
The country's leading financial journal Valor Thursday published an interview with leading economist Yoshiaki Nakano, dean of the Sao Paulo School of Economy at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, in which he argued that Temer's "resignation is the most favorable scenario for the economy". In the wake of the announcement on the use of the military, senior officials began distancing themselves from the decision.
The PSDB leader, who asked for anonymity because his party has not yet chose to break with Temer, said Cardoso, who led Brazil from 1995 to 2003, could be a "sensational" option.
While thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to demand the ousting of the president, two allied political parties removed their support for the government and Brazil's lawyers' association voted to impeach him.
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