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Rio state legislature votes to release imprisoned members

November 17, 2017

Demonstrators shout slogans against the state legislative assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Rio's state legislature voted on Friday to release three members, including the assembly president, who had been jailed in a corruption investigation a day before. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro’s state legislature has voted to release three lawmakers who had been jailed in a corruption investigation.

Friday’s decision is sure to infuriate residents of Rio. The state is in the midst of a fiscal crisis just a year after hosting the 2016 Olympics.

A major cause of the crisis has been widespread government corruption that has depleted state coffers and hurt confidence.

While legislators were discussing the issue, police outside shot tear gas at protesters who tried to go beyond barriers around the building.

Legislators voted 39-19 to revoke prison orders for Jorge Picciani, Paulo Melo and Edson Albertassi. Picciani is the legislature’s president.

The three were jailed on Thursday on orders of a federal court amid an investigation into corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

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