The Latest: Questioning of Rousseff ends after 14 hours

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Posted: Aug 29, 2016 11:11 PM
The Latest: Questioning of Rousseff ends after 14 hours

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Latest on the impeachment trial of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (all times local):

11:50 p.m.

Brazilian senators have finished questioning suspended President Dilma Rousseff in her impeachment trial.

Rousseff opened Monday's session with a 30-minute address defending her time in office. She then sat as legislators peppered her with questions for more than 14 hours, ending the session just before midnight.

The Senate is scheduled to begin proceedings for a final vote on whether to remove her permanently sometime Tuesday.

Her opponents accuse her of breaking fiscal responsibility laws to hide holes in the federal budget, saying that exacerbated a Brazil's deep recession. She denies breaking any laws and says he had to make tough choices on the budget in the face of declining government revenues and a refusal by opponents in Congress to work with her.

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7:55 p.m.

The interim government of Michel Temer has issued a fervent denial of claims made during the impeachment trial of Dilma Rousseff that he would take away workers' rights.

"The debate in the senate on the impeachment process raised false accusations of withdrawal of social rights, social security and labor rights," said a statement from Temer's office.

The statement denies that Temer would raise the retirement age to 70 or 75, eliminate sick pay and legalize slave labor. His office also said it would not privatize offshore oil fields nor revoke a series of labor laws. "These and other lies were attributed in an irresponsible and frivolous way to the interim government," the statement reads.

Temer's Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles has said his priority is to curb spending and pass a pension reform.

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7:15 p.m.

Police in Sao Paulo have fired tear gas against people demonstrating in support of President Dilma Rousseff.

Two Brazilian social groups called for protests and gathered in the city's main avenue with signs against Michel Temer, Rousseff's vice president who has been the acting leader since she was suspended in May pending the impeachment trial.

Demonstrators have built a fire barricade near the riot police.

Protests have erupted in several other cities in support of Rousseff, including in the capital of Brasilia, where senators have been questioning Rousseff in the fourth day of her impeachment trial.

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5:50 p.m.

Dilma Rousseff seemed to be holding back anger during her answer to Sen. Jose Anibal, a former guerrilla group comrade and now adversary.

The two were part of the armed resistance group during Brazil's dictatorship. Because of their long friendship, Anibal said he supported Rousseff in the presidency until around 2012. But her poor management of the energy sector, he said, pushed him away.

With two closed fists, Rousseff answered: "I am sorry that you feel like that way, senator."

Anibal's face turned red as Rousseff went on to say that he did not understand Brazil energy sector.

Rousseff is on trial for allegedly breaking fiscal rules in her management of the federal budget. The Senate is set to vote this week on whether to permanently remove her from office.

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4:10 p.m.

A top official of Brazil's Workers' Party says it will call for new elections if the Senate votes to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office.

Miguel Rossetto says "there is no way the Brazilian people will go along with a government that was not elected."

Rossetto spoke to senators on Monday as they considered whether to permanently remove Rousseff from office in an impeachment trial.

Vice President Michel Temer would finish her term through 2018 if she is removed.

The Workers' Party has held the presidency for 13 years and has frequently threatened to mobilize union workers and other followers if Rousseff is removed.

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11:25 a.m.

Dilma Rousseff has brought along some of Brazil's most famous figures for support as she appears before a Senate that is weighing whether to permanently remove her from the presidency.

Among those looking on are former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Rousseff's mentor and predecessor in office.

There are also some 20 former ministers, singer and poet Chico Buarque, leaders of leftist social movements and intellectuals.

They're sitting in the gallery above the Senate. Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski opened the session saying he will remove anyone who applauds, boos or shouts any comments during the proceedings.

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9:55 a.m.

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is telling senators that she is being unjustly accused of breaking fiscal rules in her management of the federal budget.

She's speaking at her own impeachment trial, saying: "I know I will be judged, but my conscience is clear. I did not commit a crime."

Rousseff is reminding senators that she was re-elected in 2014 by 54 million voters. She says that at every moment she has followed the constitution and done what was best for the country.

In her words, "I can't help but taste the bitterness of injustice."

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9:15 a.m.

Several hundred supporters of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are demonstrating outside Congress ahead of her appearance for the Senate's impeachment trial of the suspended leader.

Rousseff is on trial for breaking fiscal rules in her management of the federal budget. In May, the Senate voted to impeach and suspend her. Rousseff denies wrongdoing.

Senators will be voting this week on whether to permanently remove her. If a supermajority of senators vote in favor, interim President Michel Temer will finish her term, which goes through 2018.