© Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters
Protests have erupted in Brazil's major cities over President Michel Temer's decision not to step down, despite allegations of direct involvement in the unfolding bribery scandal.

Around 5,000 people marched in Rio de Janeiro, chanting "direct elections, now" and carrying banners reading "out with Temer."

Anti-Temer demonstrations have also been held in San Paolo and the country's capital, Brasília, where demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building. Hundreds flocked to the presidential headquarters in the country's capital shouting "Temer out."


In Rio, a small group of demonstrators threw bottles and fireworks at military police, who deployed tear gas and stun grenades in response, Globo TV reported.

"This government has no political condition, as well as moral condition. It has no legitimacy to continue... It is necessary that Brazil find a way through direct election," one protester, Thiago Pereira, told RT's Ruptly video news agency.
© Pilar Olivares / Reuters
A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 18, 2017.
The protest was sparked by Temer's statement on Thursday in which he vowed not to resign, insisting on his innocence.


Maria de Souza, another participant in the march, said that Temer's resignation is not enough to solve the crisis.

"We are protesting against all the law reforms. It is not enough to overthrow the current representative of capital," she said, adding that reforms involving spending cuts need to be reversed.
© Diego Vara / Reuters
Demonstrators protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer, Porto Alegre, Brazil, May 18, 2017.
"The important thing is stopping the law reforms, labor and retirement law reforms. It is essential to go on fighting for the public health and education."


The ongoing political turmoil in Brazil was triggered by the release of audio recordings, reportedly revealing that the president and his closest allies engaged in bribery schemes. The tapes were released as part of a plea bargain in a case involving the country's biggest meatpacking company, JBS.


© Pilar Olivares / Reuters
Demonstrators carry a coffin during a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 18, 2017.
The recordings reportedly include a conversation between Temer and one of the company's owners, Joesley Batista, in which they discuss payments to the former speaker of the lower house of congress, Eduardo Cunha, who is serving a prison sentence for taking bribes to secure contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras.


© Nacho Doce / Reuters
Demonstrators take part in a protest against Brazil's President Michel Temer, Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 18, 2017.