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Brazil Crisis Heads Into Weekend of Protests

Brazil Crisis Heads Into Weekend of ProtestsBrazil Crisis Heads Into Weekend of Protests

Brazil’s political crisis headed into a weekend dominated by protests and President Michel Temer’s attempt to secure enough allies to save himself after being accused of obstructing justice.

Temer needs to maintain sufficient backing in Congress to ward off calls for his impeachment barely a year after he took over in the wake of his predecessor Dilma Rousseff’s own impeachment, Reuters reported.

Temperatures would rise further with nationwide protests planned by leftist groups demanding Temer step down. The turnout at the protests can be closely watched as a gauge of the public mood.

On Friday, the Supreme Court released court filings in which Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot accused Temer and a senior senator of attempting to block a huge anti-corruption investigation known as “Car Wash”.

This came after authorities released what they said was a secretly recorded conversation between Temer and a business executive in which the president is purported to have given his blessing to monthly payments of hush money to a jailed politician.

That politician–former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha–is in prison after a “Car Wash” judge convicted him of bribe-taking.

The “Car Wash” investigation has upended Brazil with scores of politicians indicted or subject to probes into alleged bribe taking and embezzlement.

Cunha, formerly one of the most powerful insiders in Congress, has long been rumored to have threatened to spill secrets on other politicians to prosecutors.

Temer angrily denied any wrongdoing in a televised address on Thursday and rebutted mounting calls for his resignation. He has not spoken in public since then.

Adding fuel to the fire was the release on Friday of plea bargain testimony by executives at the huge JBS meatpacking company indicating that they had given Temer $4.6 million in bribes.

Opponents piled on the pressure, with eight impeachment requests filed in Congress.

The powerful Globo newspaper published an editorial at the top of its webpage demanding Temer resign.

“Not one citizen conscious of the obligations of citizenship can fail to recognize that the president has lost the moral, ethical, political and administrative conditions to continue governing Brazil,” the editorial said.

 

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