By Senabri Silvestre
SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) – Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of at least 40 Brazilian cities Friday to protest the new interim government of Michel Temer, which they say was installed as the result of a coup.
Supporters of former President Luis Ignacio Lula Da Silva and suspended head of the state Dilma Roussef joined the movement called by the their own Workers Party and various social movements.
The 'Out Temer' demonstration was led by Lula.
"Temer does not act as interim president, he took office as if it were an authority," Lula said at a protest in Sao Paolo.
He also said the new administration "does not govern, they want to sell public assets." Shortly after taking office, Temer signaled that the government would consider selling state-controlled assets in electricity and transportation in an effort to streamline the public sector and raise capital.
Similar measures were largely scaled back under 13 years of Workers Party rule under Lula and Rousseff.
Temer took office as leader last month after the Senate suspended Rousseff for six months as she faces a political trial for alleged violation of fiscal rules to hide a budget deficit ahead of the 2014 presidential elections.
But Rousseff has said the impeachment trial is a coup and has called for a referendum on the possibility of early elections after her trial.
"We must consult the people to rebuild the constitutional pact that broke the impeachment process," Rousseff said in a television interview that aired Thursday.
Following Rousseff’s removal, a number of regional countries voiced disapproval, including Ecuador, Venezuela and El Salvador -- all of which recalled diplomats in protest.
Protests carried signs that read, “Temer, state coup” and “Out Temer” as they chanted slogans against the new government.
State workers of state-run oil company Petrobras, which is being investigated in a corruption scandal, was expected to begin a 24-hour strike Friday to protest Temer.
The job action is being conducted in Rio de Janiero where the summer Olympics and Paralympic games will be held beginning in August.