Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil protests: Temer revokes decree deploying troops in Brasilia

Brazilian Army military police in riot gear guard public buildings in Brasilia, on May 25, 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Troops had been ordered in as protests against President Temer grew violent

Brazilian President Michel Temer has revoked a decree that deployed troops in the capital, Brasilia, to defend government buildings against protests.

The decree was made on Wednesday when the government said police could not contain anti-government demonstrations.

However, the move was strongly criticised by city authorities and the opposition.

Protesters want the resignation of President Temer, fresh elections, and the withdrawal of economic reforms.

The decree was issued as an estimated 35,000 people marched in the capital on Wednesday.

Demonstrations began peacefully but clashes with police then erupted. Protesters started a fire inside the ministry of agriculture and damaged several other ministerial buildings.

Government workers were said to be "terrified", the defence ministry said, according to Brazil's Globo newspaper.

Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Barricades were set alight during Wednesday's protests

The decree, known as the law-and-order guarantee, is permitted under Brazil's constitution when police forces are overwhelmed.

However, the government of Brasilia complained that it had not been consulted and that the measure was unnecessary. Criticism also came from the opposition and from some of his allies.

Mr Temer has been under intense pressure since last week when the country's supreme court released testimony alleging he had taken millions of dollars in bribes since 2010.

The plea-bargain testimony came from bosses of a giant meat-packing firm.

Mr Temer has vowed to prove his innocence and says he will not stand down.

On Saturday, he filed a petition to have the investigation suspended, but reversed that decision on Tuesday.

Mr Temer took office a year ago after his predecessor, President Dilma Rousseff, was impeached.

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