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Thousands Protest In Brazil After President Names Predecessor As Chief Of Staff Amid Fraud Probe

Lead by the opposition lawmakers, a mob interrupted a session of Congress and demanded the president's resignation.

ALONSO SOTO AND CAROLINE STAUFFER reporting for Huffington Post: Every major Brazilian city has been swept by waves of protests that erupted Wednesday after President Dilma Rousseff declared her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva chief of staff and a taped telephone conversation supported opposition claims that the appointment was made with the sole purpose to shield Lula from prosecution.

Right next to the presidential palace in the national capital, police estimated the number of protesters to be around 2,500 while the majority flocked to Sao Paulo's main Avenue Paulista.

Lula's appointment as Rousseff's chief of staff has granted him the immunity from all but the Supreme Court and was made public after a special edition of the Official Gazette. State prosecutors had charged him with money laundering and fraud, and asked for his arrest.

It has been noted by the Federal Judge Sergio Moro, who is the lead in the sprawling corruption investigation, that Lula and Rousseff considered trying to influence his enquiry, which was evident in the taped phone conversation.

"I observe that, in some dialogues they talk about, apparently, trying to influence or obtain assistance from prosecutors or the courts in favor of the former president," Moro wrote in the filing published on the court's website.

Moro said there was no information that any attempt to influence authorities was actually carried out. The recording, made public by the court, also has Rousseff offering to send Lula a copy of his appointment, "in case it was necessary."

The primary reason behind Lula's appointment is his experience and history of championing fiscal stability and combating inflation. That's an official version, represented by the Dilma Rousseff herself, who stated that his appointment did not mean he is above investigation as he could still be tried by the Supreme Court. However, her opponents have called this procedure a desperate attempt to stave off ongoing impeachment proceedings and to spare the former president from arrest.

Impeachment efforts focused originally on accusations that Rousseff intentionally broke budget rules to boost government spending during her 2014 re-election campaign, but gained steam as corruption allegations reached her inner circle

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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