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BRASÍLIA: Brazil's Michel Temer hoped to save his presidency Friday by persuading the corruption-riddled Congress to back him, despite growing calls for his head in the country's explosive new graft scandal.

His office said he would start the day by meeting with his defense minister, Raul Jungmann, and military commanders at the presidential complex.

The agenda appeared to be designed to underline the center-right president's insistence on maintaining authority.

On Thursday, Temer emphatically refused to step down after the Supreme Court authorized a probe against him.

He is accused of having given his blessing to payments meant to keep the former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, from spilling secrets while he is in prison for taking millions of dollars in bribes.

The hush money allegations left Temer teetering barely a year after he took power in controversial circumstances, replacing his impeached predecessor, leftist president Dilma Rousseff.

He now faces eight impeachment demands filed in Congress and a battle to maintain his ruling coalition. There were protests by several thousand people in Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia which ended in clashes with riot police.

More anti-Temer protests were planned this weekend.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017

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