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Lula attends pro-government protest in Northeastern Brazil


Some hundred pro-government protesters have rallied through rain in the northeast of Brazil on Saturday chanting along with former president Lula da Silva: “there will not be a coup”.

The protests in the city of Fortaleza came a day after anti-government protesters rallied in Sao Paulo, and two days after pro-government supporters protested nationwide against the looming impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday.

Lula, Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor, is under investigation for allegedly benefiting, in the form of payments and a luxury apartment, from a massive graft scheme uncovered at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Many felt the last straw for Rousseff’s allies was when she tried to appoint Lula to her Cabinet.

He was blocked from the post shortly after being sworn in, but on Thursday Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled to take the corruption investigation against him away from a crusading federal judge.

At the rally, he told supporters that he may finally be able to exercise powers in the position the following week.

“If everything goes well and according to plan on Thursday, I will be assuming the ministry as Chief of Staff,” said Lula.

Rousseff is fighting impeachment over unrelated charges of irregularities in the government budget designed to favour her re-election in 2014. She could lose power as soon as May if she does not gain more support in Congress.

The lower house of Congress is due to vote in mid-April on whether Rousseff should stand trial in the Senate for manipulating government accounts.