World / Latin America

Brazil's lower house begins session ahead of impeachment vote

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-04-18 09:53

Brazil's lower house begins session ahead of impeachment vote

Members of Brazil's Lower House of Congress voice their votes one by one over the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia, Brazil April 17, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian lawmakers in the lower house of the National Congress started a session Sunday to decide whether President Dilma Rousseff should face impeachment, as pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators rallied across the country.

The impeachment proceedings began in the Chamber of Deputies on Friday morning and lasted record 43 hours, with party leaders and lawmakers making speeches for and against the impeachment.

If 342 of the lower house's 513 lawmakers vote in favor of the impeachment on Sunday, the proceedings move to the Senate. If not, the proceedings will be shelved.

Hours before the vote, protests for and against the impeachment were taking place across the Latin American country, especially in state capitals, with both sides taking a stand.

In Rio, a large anti-impeachment protest organized by popular music group Furacao 2000 gathered favela residents and social movements in Copacabana Beach, traditionally a site of right-wing, high class protests.

The demonstration aims at showing the support of the working class to the Rousseff administration. Similar protests take place in many cities, with largest ones being registered in state capitals like Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

In many cities, both pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators took to the streets, and the authorities have to plan special security in order to prevent violence.

Security concerns run high in the capital city of Brasilia with only a thin metal wall installed to separate the rival sides apart.

Brazil impeached President Fernando Collor in 1992, but unlike then, the impeachment process does not have an almost unanimous support.

Tensions have escalated since the Chamber of Deputies session on Friday, with both government and opposition claiming they have enough votes to win the duel.

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