Troops deployed, ministries evacuated as violent protesters smash govt buildings in Brazil (VIDEO)
Brazilian government ministries have been evacuated amid massive protests in the country’s capital, Brasilia. Demonstrators reportedly attacked and even “plundered” some ministerial buildings. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Some 35,000 people have taken to the streets of Brasilia to express their discontent with the current Brazilian leadership and to demand early presidential elections, Globo reported.
Protesters are marching to the presidential palace to demand an end to austerity reforms, AFP reports, with chants of "Out with Temer!” filling the air.
Police stopped their advance by using tear gas but the protesters retaliated by throwing stones at the officers.
"Four people were detained by police,” Brazil’s Folha daily reports, citing a police statement that also said three of the arrested had drugs on them and another a melee weapon.
One protester allegedly suffered a gunshot wound, organizers said. However, there has been no official confirmation of that incident.
Six officers have been injured in the clashes, police said later as cited by Brazilian media. Medical authorities say at least 49 demonstratorswere also injured during the protests. Local hospitals have urged people to donate blood for the injured, Globo reports.
The protesters have “occupied” the Ministries Esplanade which is surrounded by the ministerial buildings.
The protesters reportedly set the Agricultural Ministry’s building on fire and smashed windows at several other ministerial buildings, Brazilian media report. The affected ministries have been evacuated.
The protesters are erecting barricades on the streets using “sofas, chairs and tables” from nearby buildings and are burning litter.
The demonstrators burnt public bicycles and “plundered” the Ministry of Planning, according to some reports.
The demonstrators also “did some damage” to the Brasilia Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of the Republic, according to Globo.
The Military Police of Brasilia were deployed to disperse demonstrators.
The protest was organized by leftist groups and trade unions. Brazilian security services said some 500 buses streamed into the Brazilian capital carrying as many as 25,000 protesters from other cities.
"It's the end of this putchist government. That's why the people have taken to the streets," a protester, who came from Sao Paulo, told AFP.
The demonstration was initially peaceful but clashes broke out as soon as the crowd reached the governmental quarter.
Temer refused to resign last week despite facing serious corruption allegations alongwith his closet aides. His refusal to step down prompted left-wing opposition parties to call on the Occupy Brasilia movement to press for his dismissal, as reported by Reuters.
Crowds initially gathered near Brasilia's national football stadium and then tried to march towards Brazil’s parliament – the National Congress – but were stopped by police.
On Wednesday, lawmakers met to discuss a potential successor to Temer should the president eventually resign or be forced out by one of Brazil's top courts. The protesters, however, countered that a new president chosen by parliament would be “unacceptable.”
Temer has responded by signing a decree authorizing the use of Armed Forces to protect government buildings between May 24 and May 31. It includes the presidential palace and ministerial offices within the framework of the “law enforcement action.”