Brazil’s Senate has voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff immediately and begin impeachment proceedings against her on accusations of tampering with accounts to hide a budget shortfall. The 55-22 Senate vote followed more than 20 hours of debate. One politician described it as the “saddest day for Brazil’s young democracy.” Vice President Michel Temer will assume the presidency during Rousseff’s suspension. Temer himself has been implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal; several of his top advisers are under investigation, and just last week he was ordered to pay a fine for violating campaign finance limits. Attorney General José Eduardo Cardozo called the vote a “historic injustice.”
José Eduardo Cardozo: “An honest and innocent woman is, right at this moment, being condemned. A judicial pretense is being used to oust a legitimately elected president over acts which have been practiced by all previous governments. A historic injustice is being committed; an innocent person is being condemned.”
During the Senate debate, military police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who had gathered outside Congress, the vast majority whom were there to support President Rousseff. Teacher and protester Celma Pereira spoke out.
Celma Pereira: “It is revolting. We are here defending our democracy, and those yes-men spray us with tear gas. They are cowards.”