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Tuesday May 21st, 2019 6:49AM

The Latest: Brazil's Temer promises to rebuild museum

By The Associated Press
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Latest on the fire at Brazil's National Museum (all times local):

12:54 p.m.

Brazilian President Michel Temer says public and private banks and companies have agreed to help rebuild the National Museum that caught fire.

Temer said Monday that several private banks, the public development bank, mining company Vale and state-run oil company Petrobras will form a "network of economic support" to help restore the museum and reconstitute its collection.

The museum appears to have been almost completely gutted in the fire that began Sunday night.

Museum director Alexander Kellner said Monday that it was not possible yet to detail what was lost.

The museum had a collection of 20 million items — including Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts and the oldest human skull found in the Western hemisphere.

___

12:20 p.m.

Brazilian police are using batons, tear gas and pepper spray to hold off a crowd gathered in front of the National Museum.

A few hundred people are demanding entry into the building to see what was damaged in a fire on Sunday night. They have attempted to push through the gates surrounding the grounds and were calling on the government to rebuild the property.

The museum caught fire around 7:30 p.m. local time and at least part of its collection of 20 million items was destroyed.

It held things such as Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts and the oldest human skull found in the Western hemisphere.

___

11:24 a.m.

Smoke was still rising from the burned-out hulk of Brazil's National Museum after a large fire broke out.

Museum director Alexander Kellner said Monday that part of the collection was destroyed Sunday night, but that it was not possible yet to detail what was lost.

The museum had a collection of 20 million items, including Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts and the oldest human skull found in the Western hemisphere. It was once the home of the Portuguese royal family.

The building was still standing, but much of it appeared to have been gutted. A few hundred people crowded at the gates of the site, some in tears.

"This fire is what Brazilian politicians are doing to the people," said Rosana Hollanda, a 35-year-old high school teacher. "They're burning our history, and they're burning our dreams."

On the massive site where the museum sits, the fencing was dilapidated, stonework was cracked and lawns appeared untended.

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