BRAZILIANS took to the streets on Thursday night to demand an end to the rule of unelected President Michel Temer — now facing a corruption probe.
But Mr Temer, who was vice-president until he came to power in a “legislative coup” that overthrew Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff last August, refused to quit.
Earlier in the day the Supreme Federal Court opened an investigation into allegations that Mr Temer had solicited bribes to keep his jailed PMDB party colleague Eduardo Cunha from revealing massive corruption.
The court also lifted an embargo on a 39-minute recording obtained by the O Globo newspaper of a conversation between the president and meat-packing magnate Joesley Batista — which the paper swiftly posted on its website.
In it, Mr Batista says: “I settled everything. He came and collected … I am good with Eduardo, OK?”
Mr Temer responds: “You have to keep that up, see?” to which Mr Batista says: “Every month.”
Mr Cunha’s downfall was a result of the Operation Carwash probe into massive bribery by construction firm Odebrecht in return for lucrative contracts from state oil company Petrobras.
After his impeachment as congressional speaker, he threatened to make revelations that would take numerous politicians down with him. 7
In a televised address, Mr Temer insisted: “At no time did I authorise the paying of anyone. I did not buy anyone’s silence. “I will not resign,” he added.
His stubbornness was met with mass protests in Sao Paolo, Brasilia and elsewhere, led by the CUT union federation, the Landless Workers’ Movement and the Popular Front of Brazil.
They demanded Mr Temer’s resignation and snap elections.