Brazil's main cities provided the stage for a series of anti-corruption demonstrations calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff Sunday (Mar. 13).
In Brasília, some 100 thousand people—according to movement leaders—occupied the Esplanade of Ministries, the center of Brazil's federal administration.
A large number of demonstrators were seen wearing T-shirts with a picture of Judge Sérgio Moro, who spearheads probes into the corruption scheme targeting contracts at Petrobras, brought under investigation as part of Federal Police-launched Operation Car Wash.
Outside the National Congress building, some of the protesters used their own bodies to form the sentence “Fora, Dilma” (“Down with Rousseff”).
Unemployed since October, Roberta Born, 34, who took part in a series of rallies staged in the grass outside the Congress building, said she believes Brazil has suffered under the current administration. She described the government as “a criminal organization.” A Porto Alegre native, Born regards herself as right-wing and declared she will only go back to her native city after Rousseff's departure from power.
Fábio Freitas, 51, a civil servant at a federal court, argues that corruption started in the country in 1500, when Brazil was discovered. “I'm one of the thousands of Brazilians outraged by corruption,” he said, adding, however, that corruption is no privilege of any single political party. “Brazil must reinvent itself. What's being demanded here is not a solution. We need a new Constituent [Assembly].”
Rio de Janeiro
Gathered in Rio de Janeiro's most famous sightseeing spot, demonstrators marched down Atlântica Avenue, on the coast of Capacabana beach, guided by three floats, one of which carried a banner with “down with communism.” The spokesperson of the movement said right-wing families had congregated there to protest against the PT. The crowd occupied both lanes of the avenue along approximately eight blocks. Brazil flags and posters with messages against the PT, Rousseff, and Lula were among the main items used by the marchers.
Hundreds of military police followed the rally, which traversed nearly all of the coast of Copacabana. No incidents or clashes have been reported so far. Earlier on, an airplane hovered overhead with a banner saying “There will be no coup – Brazil Popular Front,” which was booed by demonstrators with chants of “down with Rousseff” and “impeachment now.” A large poster expressing people's support for Judge Sergio Moro, who spearheads the proceedings under Operation Car Wash, had the words “We all are Sergio Moro” on it, originally in English.
Not everyone agreed, however. Housewife Elvira Moraes, 63, opposed the attitude. “I'm not right-wing, and I don't feel represented by these people. And they're also cursing the president. I think it's rude. This is a rally for democracy and honesty, and that's what brought me here,” she said.
Administrator José Maria Sousa, 52, said she left home early. “Being here is important, because I believe our indignation may press the government and the authorities and end the filth in politics in this country.”
Marchers calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff gathered on Paulista Avenue, a major thoroughfare in downtown São Paulo, for the rally against the government, which had been slated for midday. As happened in the other cities, most protesters were wearing green and yellow or carrying the national flag. Two inflatable dummies, one representing Rousseff and another former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a prisoner's uniform, were seen standing amid the crowd.
Entrepreneur Aloísio Fábio de Oliveira, 37, said one of his main reasons for coming to the protest was the indignation sparked by corruption. “I'm here because there must be an end to all this stealing. To teach my family about good citizenship. And see whether we can change something in this country, which has been hard, really hard,” he argued.
However, Oliveira is not certain whether or not the president's departure would be, on its own, the answer to the problems in the country. In his opinion, the government should be further pressed, even though the president may be removed from office. “The idea is to show government leaders that if she doesn't do well, we'll remove her until there's someone that does,” the businessman added, who attended the rally in the company of his wife and child.
In Bahia, demonstrators opposing Rousseff's administration gathered in Barra, a middle-class district. According to the Military Police, some 20 thousand people took part in the rallies, which ended at the Farol da Barra lighthouse, one of the major touristic attractions in Bahia's capital city. Marchers went from the lighthouse on to the Mirante Cristo da Barra mirador, another sightseeing spot, where attendees posed for a picture, prayed an Our Father and applauded Judge Sérgio Moro.
Maria da Glória Carvalho, 59, also an entrepreneur, says she came to the rallies to protest against corruption. “I'm a businesswoman, an agricultural producer, and a farmer. Brazil has been taken over by corruption and has to change. We have to clean our country's name,” she said.
The protests were called on social networking sites by the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), joined by the main demonstration leaders. In the judgment of Eduardo Costa, one of MBL's coordinators in Bahia, the impeachment calls against President Rousseff was among the main focuses of the movement. “Down with Rousseff, down with Lula, down with the PT. Other things need to be done, but that's how it should start, so that other rulers take back the reins of our country,” he argued.
Student Guilherme Brandão, 16, who was accompanied by his family, argues that an impeachment is no way out. “I oppose the way the government has ruling the country, and I think it has to change, but some other way. If the president is removed from office, it'll just be one more problem facing the country. Rousseff should end her term of office, but not the way it's been done,” he stated.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.