it accepts both because in portuguese the article is used much more often than in english, in phrases where we wouldn't use "the" Portuguese does.. so it can be translated either way.
Voce sabe quando e correto para dizer as palavras com ou sem "as/os?"
pessoas is people, pessoa is person. In this case, "as" is a definite article but is used to mean indefinite amount of people, or simply "people" generally. Like how we always say "sometimes people do that, etc."
persons is usually limited to a much more formal setting in english, especially law.
Person is not often used in the plural unless referring to the plural of a noun phrase such as, persons of interest (which in this case usually refers to people sought for questioning in a crime):
One person, two or more people.