Police clash with Dilma Rousseff supporters in Sao Paulo after her ouster as President
President Michel Temer meets with Cabinet, promises to address Brazil's economic woes
Supporters of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff protested her impeachment Wednesday night by setting fires, damaging property and clashing with police in the country’s largest city, Sao Paulo.
Lawmakers voted 61-20 Wednesday to remove Rousseff from office, finding her guilty of breaking budgetary laws in an impeachment trial.
Michel Temer, Rousseff’s former vice president who has been the interim president since her suspension in May, will serve out the remainder of her term. Temer, a leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, was sworn in as President on Wednesday afternoon.
Police lined the streets to curb the often violent demonstrations, which saw property vandalized and police vehicles damaged. Police fired tear gas at some supporters of the former leader in an attempt to quell the protests.
Temer, 75, inherits a tattered economy along with the keys to the presidential palace in Brasilia, the capital.
In an attempt to bring calm to the streets and reassure ordinary Brazilians, Temer said: “This is a moment of hope, to rebuild trust in Brazil. Uncertainty has come to an end. It’s time to unify the country.”
The new President met with his Cabinet and promised to tackle unemployment.
“I am not saying it is an easy task, since we have almost 12 million people unemployed in this country,” he said, according to a CNN translation. “It’s a scary number, and there is nothing less dignified than unemployment.”
The rise and fall of Brazil's Dilma Rousseff
A general election is scheduled for 2018.
Wednesday’s vote marks the culmination of a contentious impeachment process that has dragged on for months. It’s a political crisis that ordinary Brazilians could do well without as the country, which just hosted the Summer Olympics in Rio, is trying to pull itself out of recession.
The Senate’s decision is a major blow for Rousseff, a member of the Workers’ Party, but it might not mark the end of her political career.
Rousseff, 68, a former Marxist guerrilla, said earlier this week that she had committed no crime and said she was proud she’d been “faithful to my commitment to the nation.”
Sen. Lindbergh Farias of the Workers’ Party made an impassioned plea against Rousseff’s impeachment.
“This is a farce. This is a pretext. This is absolutely irrelevant. There are two types of senators, the one that know there was no crime of responsibility and vote against the impeachment and those that know there was no crime of responsibility and vote in favor,” he said, shouting from the Senate floor.
Sen. Ronaldo Caiado of the Democrats argued that Rousseff should be ousted, arguing that lawmakers weren’t the ones behind the impeachment process.
“It began because 90% of the population has said loudly, no more (Workers’ Party),” he said.
“When Brazil or when a president is impeached for a crime that they have not committed, the name we have for this in democracy – it’s not an impeachment, it is a coup,” she said after the Senate voted to launch the proceedings.
A statement from the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon said the UN Secretary-General had “taken note” of the impeachment process and Temer’s swearing in.
“The Secretary-General extends his best wishes to President Temer as he begins his tenure,” the statement said. “He trusts that under President Temer’s leadership, Brazil and the United Nations will continue their traditional close partnership.”
CNN’s Shasta Darlington, Flora Charner and Julia Jones contributed to this report.