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Brazil Senate Votes for Dilma Rousseff Impeachment Trial

Supporters of suspended Brazilian President Rousseff protest the government of Temer during senate impeachment vote, August 9, 2016. | Photo: @LemusteleSUR Supporters of suspended Brazilian President Rousseff protest the government of Temer during senate impeachment vote, August 9, 2016. | Photo: @LemusteleSUR
SAO PAULO, Brazil, August 10, 2016 - Despite protests by thousands in major cities in Brazil, the senate voted 59 to 21 Wednesday morning in favor of proceeding with an impeachment trial against democratically-elected President Dilma Rousseff, who has called the process a coup against her legitimate government.

The debate — which began Tuesday morning and went on for over 12 hours — was met with intense protests by thousands of pro-Rousseff, anti-coup forces.
The vote follows the approval of a report by a Senate special committee on August 2 which recommended that Rousseff be put on trial.

Social movements and trade unions under the banner of the Popular Front of Brazil took to the streets in various cities such as Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Aracaju, Recife, Joao Pessoa, Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte to defend democracy and to protest the senate-imposed government of Michel Temer.

People also protested against Temer's labor reforms, which call for wage freezes, subcontracting and other attacks on workers.
A 4-feet high wall was erected by the government to keep protesters from reaching the National Congress in Brasilia.

Rousseff’s opponents needed a simple majority of the 81 senators to inch closer to impeaching the first woman president, who was forced to step down from office on May 12 after the Senate voted to suspend her, leading to the coup-imposed, highly unpopular government of Michel Temer, who had been Rousseff’s vice president.

The impeachment trial will begin around August 25, days after the close of the Rio Olympics, and will last five days – when a two-thirds majority would be needed to strip her of her power and end 13 years of progressive Workers’ Party rule in Brazil in what many call a “soft” coup.

“This coup is not like usual coups in Latin America, which normally involve weapons, tanks in the streets, arrests and torture. The current coup is happening within the democratic framework, with the use of existing institutions,” Rousseff told RT in an interview.

Rousseff is accused of spending money without congressional approval and taking out unauthorized loans from state banks to make the national budget look better than it really was as she campaigned for re-election in 2014.

She says such maneuvers were common practice under previous administrations and do not amount to an impeachable offense.

Her allies both nationally and internationally point out that many of the lawmakers accusing her are implicated in corruption cases arguably far more serious than accounting tricks.

Eduardo Cunha, who spearheaded the impeachment process as president of the Chamber of Deputies, for example, has been indicted in the scandal known as Operation Car Wash involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras and was suspended by Brazil's Supreme Court on May 5 due to allegations that he attempted to intimidate members of Congress and obstructed investigations into his alleged receipt of bribes.

Temer has also been implicated in corruption allegations. Known as the most unpopular man in Brazil, Temer was loudly booed at the Olympic opening ceremonies. If Rousseff is impeached, he will remain president until the next general election in 2018.

Rousseff is a former leftist guerrilla who was jailed and tortured by the country's military regime in the 1970s and followed Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the second consecutive Workers’ Party president in 2011.

Last modified onFriday, 12 August 2016 01:13

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