Protests erupt in Brazil over controversial 20-year austerity plan

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest in front of the National Congress in Brasilia on December 13, 2016.

Story highlights

  • Brazil approves a constitutional amendment that caps public spending
  • Protesters take to the streets in 15 cities over the amendment

(CNN)Fierce protests erupted in 15 Brazilian cities Tuesday as the country's Senate approved a controversial 20-year austerity plan.

Known as PEC 55, the constitutional amendment imposes a cap on public spending that will limit federal investment in social programs for the next 20 years.
Brazil's Senate approved the spending bill 53 to 16, and it is expected to become law Thursday.
    Brazilian President Michael Temer -- who assumed office in late August -- praised the move, referring to the bill as the "first amendment aimed at getting the country out of recession."
    The government hopes that the spending cap, combined with a proposed pension reform, will lure investors back to Brazil, bringing an end to the worst recession in decades.

    Expenditure cap, a breach on human rights

    Students set buses on fire during a protest in front of the National Congress in Brasilia on December 13, 2016.