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Naked protest against President Michel Temer's pension reform plan, Brazil

Heated scenes in Brazil as civil servants, rural workers and labour unions staged nationwide demonstrations on March 15 against President Michel Temer's pension reform plan. Protesters are angry at moves by Temer and his allies in the ruling coalition to cap pension benefits and raising the retirement age. But the government argues that keeping the expenses under control is key to fixing public finances and pulling the country out of its worst recession in more than a century.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva joined protesters in Sao Paulo, calling the impeachment against Dilma Rousseff that heralded Temer's presidency as a coup against the people. Lula, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, is still one of Brazil's most popular politicians despite a graft scandal.Amidst rumours that Brazil's Workers Party will field Lula for 2018 elections, the former leader rallied the crowd by saying the people will vote out Temer from office.

The demonstrations reflect the deep ideological divide among Brazilians as Temer seeks to pass the nation's most ambitious pension, labour and tax reforms in two decades.Temer has acknowledged the unpopularity of his reforms but stressed the priority is to get the country's economy on a sound footing. Members of Temer's ruling coalition have said there is not much room for changes in the reforms if the country wants to reduce a record budget deficit that has undermined investor confidence.

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