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19 May, 2017

Clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police in Brazil


Fora Temer! (“Out Temer!”) has become the battle cry of the streets and with that, a call for the return of democracy. teleSUR takes a look at social movements and popular organizations demanding Temer's removal and fresh elections.

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With three impeachment requests by parliamentarians in less than 24 hours, Michel Temer finds himself isolated and battered, unable to ward off a backlash after a wiretap implicated him in approving bribes that would obstruct the hand of justice.

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On Thursday, Parana Institute Research released a survey indicating that 87 percent of Brazilians favor the immediate removal of Temer . Meanwhile, 88 percent support Temer's impeachment, resignation, or removal by the Supreme Court.

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Recall that, Brazil's top court approved Thursday an investigation into unelected President Michel Temer over a new explosive wiretap recording that revealed the president had signed off on sizeable bribes to manage the fallout of corruption scandals swirling around his administration and keep a powerful witness from speaking out on government corruption, Brazil's Globo TV reported.

The decision came hours after the Federal Supreme Court suspended Senator Aecio Neves Thursday morning, a Temer ally who was also embroiled in the wiretap scandal for soliciting hefty bribes. Police carried out search warrants in apartments owned by Neves in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, as well as his and other lawmakers’ congressional offices as part of the country’s largest-ever corruption probe, known as Operation Car Wash, investigating dozens of politicians and business elites involved in fraud schemes linked to the state-run oil company, Petrobras.

The court's decisions came a day after one of Brazil’s largest newspapers, O Globo, released damning wiretap evidence that the senator had requested bribes to the tune of 2 million Brazilian reais, or about US$638,000 from Joesley Batista, an owner of the world’s largest meat processing company, JBS. Authorities arrested Thursday the senator's sister Andrea Neves and cousin Frederico Pacheco de Madeiros, who reportedly received suitcases of dirty money from Batista on Neves' behalf.

Neves had previously been named in the high-profile Operation Car Wash investigations together with Temer and a number of his top allies. In 2014, the senator lost the presidential runoff election to Rousseff and was a leading advocate of the ill-footed impeachment campaign against her, widely condemned as a coup.

The court also ordered the suspension of lower house lawmaker Rodrigo Rocha Loures, a member of Temer's conservative PMDB party and former top aide to the president. The Batista wiretap also implicated Rocha for receiving bribes to sort out issues with a JBS holding, J&F.

The same tape revealed that Temer had also given his blessing to hefty bribes in the name of keeping a key witness, Eduardo Cunha, quiet in the corruption investigations. Cunha, the former speaker of the lower house, the chief mastermind behind the parliamentary coup dressed as an impeachment process against former President Dilma Rousseff and an ally of the unelected president, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in March for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

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