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Congressional Hearing in Brazil Disrupted by Rodent Invasion

APRIL 9, 2015

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    By ROBERT MACKEY

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    A protester in Brazil disrupted a congressional hearing on Thursday by releasing five rodents as an official from the governing party arrived to answer questions about corruption at the state-run oil company, Petrobras.

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    The most endearing entities in Brazil's congress right now are literal rodents https://t.co/ATTeWaK7JQ

    — Alex Cuadros (@AlexCuadros) April 9, 2015

    Video recorded by people at the hearing showed the rodents scurrying in front of the press pack in Brazil’s lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, just after the arrival of João Vaccari Neto, the treasurer of President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party.

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    Video recorded on Thursday in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, showed a disruption before the start of a congressional hearing into corruption at the state oil firm, Petrobras. Rádio CBN, via YouTube Continue reading the main story
    Rodents smuggled in by a protester disrupted a hearing in Brazil’s lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, on Thursday. Jornal do Commercio, via YouTube

    Before lawmakers could question Mr. Vaccari, who was charged last month with trying to disguise millions of dollars in bribes as campaign contributions, they had to wait for the five rodents to be captured and the man blamed for smuggling them into the hearing to be removed by security personnel.

    Photo Some of the rodents released on the floor of Brazil's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, on Thursday at a hearing on corruption at the state oil firm, Petrobras. Credit Luis Macedo/Chamber of Deputies

    In case anyone missed the symbolism, Marco Feliciano, a conservative member of Congress, told readers of his Twitter feed that a rat was a euphemism for a corrupt person.

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    Soltaram 1 rato na CPI e isso ñ é eufemismo p/os corruptos. Literalmente soltaram 1 rato qdo Vaccari aqui chegou. pic.twitter.com/s2yoXsUM32

    — Marco Feliciano (@marcofeliciano) April 9, 2015

    Although the rodents were widely described as rats in initial reports, an expert consulted by Brazil’s TV Globo identified them as two hamsters and three gerbils.

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