Brazil singers stage concert to protest acting president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Grammy award-winner Caetano Veloso added his voice to a growing numbers of artists and musicians rejecting Brazil’s interim government, holding a concert in a building occupied by protesters.

About 2,000 people gathered Friday night for a musical performance by Veloso and other singers in protest against acting President Michel Temer and his decision to abolish the country’s Culture Ministry.

Veloso got the crowd singing the slogan “get Temer out” and performed a song called “Odeio,” or “I hate” in English, with spectators completing the phrase with the interim president’s name.

“The Culture Ministry is ours,” Veloso said. “It is an accomplishment of the Brazilian state. It doesn’t belong to any administration.”

Last week Temer decided to fold the Culture Ministry into the Education Ministry under the control of a conservative politician who has no experience in either area.

The concert was held at a government building in central Rio de Janeiro where activists who consider Temer’s acting presidency illegitimate have been camped out since Monday. Organizers say there are 15 other cities with federal buildings taken over in similar demonstrations.

Temer was elected VP on President Dilma Rousseff’s ticket and took the top office on an interim basis after she was impeached. She has been suspended from office and could be permanently removed if a Senate trial finds her guilty of breaking fiscal laws.

Rousseff’s allies accuse Temer of plotting her ouster through impeachment proceedings initiated by a member of his party.

Singer and actor Seu Jorge, known for his role in the Oscar-nominated movie “City of God,” also called for Temer’s removal from office.

Leftist lawmakers and activists spoke at the concert, with some vowing not to negotiate with Temer.

“We heard they want us to discuss bringing the Culture Ministry back,” Sen. Lindberg Farias said. “But we don’t recognize any authority in this illegitimate government.”

Conservative groups and politicians that back Temer accuse Brazilian artists of living off government funds.

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