BRASILIA, March 17 (Reuters) - Supporters of leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva clashed briefly with opponents of his Workers’ Party on Thursday outside the presidential palace, where he was due to be sworn in as President Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff.
Police said they used pepper spray to stop a clash between the rival groups and move away some 300 opposition protesters who were trying to enter the square, occupied by more than 300 pro-government demonstrators.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters calling for Rousseff’s impeachment and Lula’s arrest also blocked the central Avenue Paulista in Brazil’s largest city and economic hub, Sao Paulo.
The appointment of Lula to the cabinet, a move seen by his critics as a way to shield him from prosecution in a corruption investigation, triggered large protests in several Brazilian cities on Wednesday. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn)