Brazil's President Michel Temer on Thursday defiantly said he would not resign from office despite a Supreme Court decision authorizing an investigation into allegations he condoned bribery of a potential witness in a major corruption probe.
"Nobody right now knows what to do or what is going to happen", said a senior aide to party leadership in Congress.
Earlier, the Supreme Court approved an investigation into the allegations, but Mr Temer said he would prove his innocence. In his statement, Batista also revealed that Temer asked him for two million reais (more than $ 600,000) to cover the expenses of his defense in the Lava Jato anti-corruption operation.
According to a May 17 report from O Globo, the president was caught on tape asking the chairman of Brazil's JBS meat-packing company, Joesley Batista, to buy the silence of Eduardo Cunha, the former president of the lower house who has been in prison since November 2016.
The statement was made during a press conference, nearly 24 hours after recordings of Temer and JBS owner, Joesley Batista, showed that the President knew, and to some ears approved, the pay-offs handed out by Batista to former Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha.
Organised mainly via social media, the largest protests on Thursday took place in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and the nation's capital, Brasilia, Efe news reported.
Allegations of serious corruption against Brazilian President Michel Temer risk ruining the country's recent reputation for making tough decisions to stop corruption, anti-corruption group Transparency International said today.
Calls for Temer's removal gathered steam as opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues promised non-stop protests until Temer resigns.
As night fell, some protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police, who fired tear gas into the crowd. According to recent data released by pollster Datafolha, Temer's popularity rating is less than 9%.
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Cunha was one of the leading voices pushing for Rousseff's ouster a year ago.
Temer was Rousseff's former vice president and has been serving as interim President since her suspension in May 2016.
The wide-ranging corruption investigation began three years ago with the arrest of an executive at Petrobras, Brazil's government-run oil company.
The scandal is a central reason why Brazil is in its worst recession in history.
In addition to Temer, the tapes reportedly implicate former presidential candidate Senator Aecio Neves and the former finance minister Guido Mantega. Brazil's political crisis deepened sharply on Thursday with corrup. "Although we have explanations of why we did what we did, was have no justifications".
The conversation, which was provided to prosecutors as part of a plea bargain with Batista, is now evidence with the Supreme Court.
The O Globo report also details other improprieties by Brazilian businessmen and politicians.
The testimony states that a congressman, Rodrigo Rocha Lourdes, was sent by Temer to "resolve a matter" concerning a JBS subsidiary.
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