Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure

Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure

Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure

Turning rumours into solid accusations, Brazil's Supreme Court of Justice chose to open an investigation, triggering the political crisis. The calls for resignation have heated up since the release of the recording and came to a head in Wednesday's protest, when 45,000 demonstrators took to the streets. The Secretariat of Public Security later issued a statement saying one person had been injured by a bullet but did not give any information on who fired the shot.

The order was signed less than 24 hours after the previous one in which Temer had asked the army to occupy the streets to quell a protest against him near the government's headquarters.

Bringing troops into the streets under the present conditions of extreme crisis has historic political implications in Brazil, a country that was ruled for over two decades by military dictatorship following the US-backed coup of 1964.

Conservative former vice-president Temer stepped up to replace leftist president Dilma Rousseff past year.

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Columnist Maria Cristina Fernandes in economic daily Valor described the deployment as "the last chance for a show of authority by a government that is finished".

Thousands of protesters called for Brazilian President Michel Temer's ouster on Wednesday, enraged by an audio recording emerged last week that appears to capture him endorsing hush money for a convicted former lawmaker.

Allies of beleaguered Brazilian President Michel Temer are waiting for a crucial electoral court ruling in early June rather than withdrawing support now, but they are already preparing a grand bargain to pick an interim successor, party leaders said this week.

Temer decreed the measure on Wednesday after violence seriously escaled in Brasilia, where protesters were demanding his resignation and set the Ministry of Agriculture on fire as well as vandalizing a few other ministry headquarters and other government buildings.

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Scuffles between police and protesters who tried to jump a cordon mushroomed into a series of clashes in which officers fired tear gas and pepper spray to contain the crowd.

Addressing the nation amidst the civil unrest, Defence Minister Raul Jungmann confirmed troops had been deployed to defend government buildings. The deployment was authorised by a presidential decree that left open the possibility that soldiers could be used more widely in Brasilia.

"It will be very hard for these reforms to be approved now", said Carlos Melo, a political scientist with Insper, a Sao Paulo business school.

Temer's popularity was low even before the latest scandal broke, in part because of opposition to an economic overhaul that he wants to push through Congress, including loosening work rules and changing the pension system. 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. Renan Calheiros, who is the whip for Temer's party in the upper house but has increasingly challenged the president. Technicians from the federal police say it could take a month to work out if that is the case. Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese contributed from Rio de Janeiro.

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Protesters shouted "Out with Temer!" and carried signs calling for immediate direct presidential elections.

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