Demonstrators from the Avaaz organization wear signs covered with slogans against secret voting outside Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. (Eraldo Peres/AP)
Demonstrators from the Avaaz organization wear signs covered with slogans against secret voting outside Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. (Eraldo Peres/AP)

BRASILIA — A small group of Brazilian youths got naked outside Congress Wednesday to demand an end to secret voting in the legislature.

"Democracy is not conducted with secret votes, so we need an open vote," said Michael Mohallem, one of the organizers of the protest by several dozen.

"We have nothing to hide" or "I am here and I exposed myself" read some of the placards held by the protesters.

In Brazil, it is not made public whether lawmakers have voted yes or no to a given bill.

The nudity stunt came as the Senate's Constitution and Justice commission was to consider a bill on scrapping secret voting, particularly to remove lawmakers from office.

The bill has already been approved by the House of Deputies.

In a secret vote last month, the House of Deputies failed to secure the necessary votes to expel Natan Donadon, who began serving a 13-year jail term for corruption in June.

This means that in effect Donadon, the first sitting congressman to be jailed in Brazil since the end of the military dictatorship in the mid-1980's, can continue legislating from his prison cell.

"I think the public has the right to know how we, senators, the representatives of the people, vote," said Senator Eduardo Suplicy, who joined the protesters.

"I am in favor of the open vote," he told the G1 news portal.

Last June, Congress was one of the targets of the more than one million Brazilians who took to the streets nationwide to demand an end to endemic corruption.



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