Brazil Senate votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff

The vote came after some 20 hours of debate

Brazil Senate votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends a ceremony in Brasilia | Image: Eraldo Peres / AP/Press Association Images

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been suspended from office and will face an impeachment trial, following a vote by Brazil's senate.

The vote was widely expected and went 55-22 in favour of putting the country's first woman president on trial.

She is accused of lying to voters about the level of the country's deficit during her re-election campaign.

The vote came after some 20 hours of debate and means Vice President Michel Temer will take over for up to six months.

Her trial in the senate will decide if she can carry out in her second term as leader or whether Mr Temer will continue in power.

Ms Rousseff's supporters say she has been forced from power in a coup.

Thousands of protesters had gathered in support and opposition to Ms Rousseff outside the Senate, with each group separated by a wall constructed down the middle of a lawn.

Small but intense clashes broke out between police and Ms Rousseff's supporters, with police using pepper spray and protesters throwing firecrackers at officers.

Emergency service workers took several people away after they fell ill from the clouds of pepper spray.

While the impeachment is based on allegations that Ms Rousseff broke fiscal laws, the process has developed into a referendum on her and her handling of the country over the past six years.

Brazil is mired in the worst economic downturn in decades and a sprawling corruption scandal centred on the state-run Petrobras oil company.

While Ms Rousseff is not accused of corruption, she is facing the same wave of public anger as many in the country's elite - 60% of Brazilians support her impeachment.

Supporters of impeachment blame Ms Rousseff and her Workers' Party for the stalled economy and insist that Mr Temer, whose party has split from the governing coalition, represents the only hope of reviving it.