Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff has accused her critics of using trumped charges against her to trample on the country’s democracy.
In a marathon session before the Senate, Rousseff was cross questioned late into the night as she defended herself during her impeachment trial.
The leftist leader is accused of illegally manipulating the budget to hide a growth deficit.
Even after 15 hours of defending her corner observers said Rousseff looked fresh and engaged.
“The constitution is clear,” she said.“It establishes that in order to start an impeachment process, there needs to be a crime. If there is no crime, this impeachment process that is taking an innocent person from the government is a coup d’etat. A coup d’etat with a new image, that of a parliamentary coup.”
Rousseff faces no allegations of personal enrichment. But she has been charged on the sidelines of the impeachment process with obstructing an investigation into political kickbacks at state-run oil company Petrobras. She chaired the board from 2003 to 2010, when the worst of the corruption was taking place.
With the odds stacked against her, many see the result of the trial as a forgone conclusion, however in Sao Paulo and other Brazilian cities there were some clashes between Rousseff supporters and police.
For Rousseff to be removed from the presidency permanently, 54 of the 81 senators will have to vote for her impeachment. So far 52 have declared themselves in favour of it.
The vote should take place later this week. If she loses, interim government acting President, Michel Temer will fulfil the rest of her term.