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Brazilian judge rules to allow protests at Olympics

Ruling was a direct rebuke to the Brazilian Olympic authorities who have cited Olympic Charter's prohibition on political demonstrations at events as justification for preventing anti-Temer protests

AFP/PTI  |  Rio De Janeiro 

Rio, Olympics 2016

A Brazilian judge has ruled that Olympic organisers cannot ban peaceful protests in stadiums, following the controversial expulsion of people holding up signs calling for interim president Michel Temer's resignation.

Rio de Janeiro federal Judge Joao Carneiro Araujo ruled that organisers cannot "prevent peaceful demonstrations of a political nature using the means of placards, shirts or other legal methods in official sites of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," a spokesman told AFP.

Araujo's temporary injunction has "immediate effect" and any violations will be punishable by a fine of 10,000 reais (approximately USD 3,150), his spokesman said.

The ruling was a direct rebuke to the Brazilian Olympic authorities who have cited the Olympic Charter's prohibition on political demonstrations at events as justification for preventing anti-Temer protests.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for Brazil's Olympic authorities, said they would challenge the judge's ruling.

Ever since Saturday's opening ceremony, when many in the crowd shouted "fora Temer" or "out with Temer," opponents have been either shouting the slogan or holding up signs with the words at Olympic events.

Several incidents have been filmed and shared widely on social media in which security guards or police confiscate signs or even expel the protesters.

The court ruling followed a challenge lodged by prosecutors against the Rio organising committee, and the state and federal governments.

Temer, the former vice president, took over in May from elected president Dilma Rousseff when she was suspended for an impeachment trial. She faces being removed permanently from office just days after the Olympics if convicted of breaking budgetary laws.

As criticism mounted, the Justice Ministry issued a statement Sunday saying that the rules forbid spectators from bringing any "item that could harm the competition" and that this includes "any item with a political, religious, racist, discriminatory, defamatory or xenophobic message.

First Published: Tue, August 09 2016. 21:57 IST