Brazil’s President Michel Temer deployed the army to quell widespread protests demanding his resignation, as demonstrators waged a fierce battle with police.
Police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to try to stop tens of thousands of protesters as they marched towards Congress to call for Temer’s ouster and an end to his austerity program, Reuters reported.
The most violent protest in Brasilia since 2013, the demonstration saw protesters shoot powerful fireworks at police, burn furniture in the Agriculture Ministry, and spray anti-Temer graffiti on government buildings.
The spark for the outrage is a disputed audio recording in which Temer can allegedly be heard instructing a top businessman to bribe a politician convicted for corruption to remain silent rather than implicating other government officials. But Temer was already dismally unpopular, thanks to planned pension reforms and other austerity measures designed to rejuvenate Brazil’s flagging economy.
The violence only fans the flames of uncertainty that have roiled financial markets, as Temer already faces potential removal from office if the top electoral court annuls the results of the 2014 election due to illegal campaign financing.