Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Friday (Mar. 18) in several Brazilian cities to protest against President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment after a troubled week for the federal government. The movement has also gained prominence on social media. However, experts say that although these demonstrations show that there is popular support for Rousseff, they are not enough to put the government at ease.
For Luis Felipe Miguel, a Political Science professor, the demonstration lived up to the government's expectations and showed that there is still momentum for mobilization. “Since other attempts to get people on the streets to protest against impeachment had been frustrated, this had created a feeling that Brazilians supported it [impeachment]. But now [after the anti-impeachment rally on Friday] we could see that that was a misperception,” the professor said.
According to him, the fact that the anti-impeachment demonstrations had a smaller turnout than those against the government on March 13 does not say much. “The [anti-government] demonstrations on Sunday were widely disseminated by mainstream media, there were big business interests at stake. Friday's rallies did not rely on that kind of support,” he compared.
According to political scientist Waldir Pucci, of the University Center of the Federal District, the anti-impeachment demonstrations showed that Rousseff still enjoys support. “This was not the case with [former president] Fernando Collor, whose resignation was a unanimous call.” According to him, the part of society that took to the streets against impeachment on Friday has some sway in the current political environment, but is not powerful enough to strengthen the government.
He mentioned the rally in São Paulo, which gathered 80,000 people, “but was still smaller than the demonstration [for impeachment] on Sunday. It is still expected to have some political weight but nothing that could give a fragile government new strength,” he pointed out.
Another political scientist, Márcio Coimbra, said “the demonstration was smaller than the government needed.” He pointed out that photos of protesters arriving on buses and organizers giving out snacks that circulated online “contradict the grassroots nature of the event,” he said. According to Coimbra, the demonstrations in support for the government were different from the more spontaneous anti-government protests that emerged Wednesday (16) as a backlash against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's appointment as Chief of Staff.
According to Ana Claudia Farranha, who holds a doctor's degree in Political Science, the anti-impeachment rallies on Friday showed that “the game has not been won by either side yet.” She stressed that the demonstrations were not exactly a pro-government rally, but they did show some discontent about how some situations have been dealt with. “While there's outrage at corruption, there's [also] outrage at certain proceedings that don't lead to democracy, as [was the case with] the wiretapping of conversations [of former president Lula, for example, which some contend was illegal] and the way the impeachment case is being prejudiced. Our democracy is no won game, it's a game that still has to be played,” she argued.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.