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‘Lame duck’

Clamour grows for Brazil's President Temer to resign

Protesters rally at a demonstration and concert in Rio de Janeiro calling for direct presidential elections 'Lame duck'

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Getty Images

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People are angry about the corruption allegations surrounding President Temer

It was a miserable day on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. But the heavy fog smothering the normally sunny beaches did not put thousands of people off from heading down to Copacabana to join calls for President Michel Temer to step down.

It was a show of anger typical of Rio – lots of samba and singing mingled with loud calls for political change.

Brazil has got used to political surprises – from major corruption probes to last year's impeachment of Dilma Rousseff – but the past few weeks here have been tumultuous.

After the leaking of audio recordings where Mr Temer appears to be encouraging bribes, the country's leader is now under investigation. People are angry.

Well-known Brazilian artists and musicians including the singer-songwriter and political activist Caetano Veloso took part in the concert, joining the people on the streets to make their voices louder.

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Getty Images

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The bad weather did not stop protesters taking to the streets over the weekend

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AFP

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Well-known Brazilian artists and musicians including Caetano Veloso (above) took part in a protest concert

"We are here for our rights," says actor Daniel Oliveira. "It's an important day for Brazil."

The president, though, maintains he has done nothing wrong and has repeatedly refused to resign.

"I think Temer is a lame duck," says Sergio Abranches, a political analyst who thinks this is a presidential crisis like no other. "He'll never recover his political authority. He can remain in power though and that will be very bad for Brazil."

"Fora Temer" (Out with Temer) is a chant that has become popular in recent months – and maybe the crowd's demands could be met.

On 6, 7 and 8 June the country's Superior Electoral Court will meet to decide whether or not to annul the 2014 presidential elections – the elections that Dilma Rousseff won with Michel Temer as her running mate.

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But under the Brazilian constitution, Congress would not have to choose a successor until next year's elections. Not everybody is happy with that.

People at the protest chanted "directas ja" – "direct elections now". It's an expression that was first used in the 1980s when Brazilians took to the streets to ask for democratic elections after two decades of military rule. But the chant is gaining traction once again as Mr Temer's troubles increase.

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Reuters

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The clamour for President Temer to go seems to be gathering momentum

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The protesters want direct elections to be held immediately

"We want to give back to the people the right to choose their next president directly," says Congress member Alessandro Molo, who is hopeful that the Electoral Court will decide to take Mr Temer out.

"We have a president [that] we didn't elect," says Arthur Bezerra, one of the protesters. "He was elected as vice-president but not with this political platform he's trying to put right now.

"So we need to get him out of there and we cannot have a new president appointed by the same politicians that are involved in this corruption."

The next few weeks are really important for Brazilians – if, when and how their president will leave. It is a waiting game that everybody wants to be over to get on with rebuilding political faith in the country.

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