Olympic flame arrives in Brazil

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (front R) lights a cauldron with the Olympic Flame next to Fabiana Claudino, captain of the Brazilian volleyball team, as Carlos Nuzman (L), president of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, looks on during the Olympic Flame torch relay at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, May 3, 2016.Image copyright

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President Dilma Rousseff lit the torch at the presidential palace in Brasilia

The Olympic flame has arrived in Brazil for the start of a torch relay that will culminate with the opening of the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

It was flown inside a small lantern on a special flight from the Swiss city of Geneva to Brasilia.

President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch which will be carried around Brazil by 12,000 runners.

But it could be one of President Rousseff’s last public acts ahead of a possible impeachment trial.

The Senate is expected to vote next week on whether proceedings against her should go ahead.

If a simple majority votes in favour, Ms Rousseff will be suspended from office for up to 180 days and Vice-President Michel Temer will take over.

Ms Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts ahead of her re-election in 2014.

She has denied the charges and says the impeachment proceedings are a “coup d’etat” designed to remove her Workers’ Party from office.

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The flame arrived on board a special flight from Geneva

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Brazil women’s volleyball team captain Fabiana Claudino was the first relay runner to carry the torch

The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Brasilia says that generating public support for the Rio Games will be one of the main challenges during the torch’s 95 day journey around Brazil.

Aside from the political crisis Brazil’s economy has slumped.

The torch will pass through more than 300 towns and cities from the Amazon to Brazil’s southern border, arriving at the Maracana Stadium in Rio on 5 August.

Among the first torchbearers will be a Syrian refugee who now lives in Brazil.

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