Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure

Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure

Violence erupted on Wednesday after a crowd of demonstrators, estimated by police at 45,000, marched toward the presidential palace, which is flanked by Congress and the government buildings.

The plea-bargain testimony of JBS executives, including brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista, chairman and chief Executive officer respectively, was made public last week and sparked a political crisis that threatens to topple Brazilian President Michel Temer.

Though the STF was going to debate whether to accept Temer's request to suspend the investigation, his lawyers said they want the inquiry to move forward to have Temer's name cleared from wrongdoing.

Brazilian President Michel Temer on Thursday removed federal troops from the streets of the nation's capital, a day after sending in the army to contain violent protests against his scandal-plagued government. Criticism also came from the opposition and from some of his allies.

Police responded with overwhelming and disproportionate force against the demonstrators as a whole, unleashing massive amounts of teargas, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets, sending mounted police with riot sticks into the crowds and, at one point, firing live ammunition at protesters. The protest was largely peaceful until a group of masked members of the so-called black bloc, a group that has frequently been infiltrated by agent s provocateurs, attacked police and vandalized government ministry buildings, setting one, the agricultural ministry, on fire.

While Congress debated, 35,000 people were marching toward the legislative building, shouting "Out with Temer!" and carrying signs calling for an immediate direct presidential election.

Andre Cesar, a political analyst at Hold consultancy, said Temer "cannot survive".

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The decision to deploy the military has only worsened the whirlwind surrounding Temer in recent hours, submerged in an intense institutional crisis for the last week which threatens to end his government.

The so-called pension reform needs a supermajority in both houses of Congress and government leaders reckoned they still lacked the necessary votes to pass it.

"We have to wait until we can agree on a way forward the day after, to maintain stability and preserve our Constitution and democracy", said Senator Tasso Jereissati, leader of the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) that is the largest ally in Temer's ruling coalition.

The measure had intensified pressure on Temer, who is now facing requests for "impeachment" or resignation both on the streets as well as in political and economic sectors that used to be allied with him, due to a recent corruption scandal being investigated against him. Aecio Neves, was engulfed in the same corruption investigation.

Due to this situation, legislator Carlos Zarattini, of the leftist Workers' Party founded by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said: "I do not remember seeing anything like this even in the period of the military dictatorship".

"Temer can't stay and these reforms that trample on our rights cannot advance". If the court rules that it did, Temer may be stripped of the presidency.

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