Uhuru-Spirit News


March 16, 2015 | Uhuruspirit

Brazilian protesters - © Sebastiao Moreira, EPA

Rio de Janeiro - Hundreds of thousands of people rallied Sunday in cities across Brazil protest the government of President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff, who was sworn in to her second four-year term in January, is under criticism over Brazil's stagnating economy and a corruption scandal enveloping the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras.

An estimated 15,000 gathered on the sands of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, while in the capital, Brasilia, 45,000 protesters waved Brazilian flags and raised signs read "Impeach Rousseff!" and "Corruption: How much longer?" in a march to the National Congress.

In Sao Paulo, the country's most populous city, according to police estimates between 580,000 and 1 million people marched down Avenida Paulista, the central thoroughfare and Brazilian banking centre. Organizers had expected only 200,000 in the financial capital.

Tens of thousands more marched in cities including Belo Horizonte, Goias, Salvador, Recife, Ribeirao Preto and Manaus.

Many demonstrators wore green-and-yellow jerseys of Brazil's beloved national football team, and some blew whistles.

Overseas, hundreds of Brazilians gathered to demonstrate in New York, London and Sydney.

Sunday was the 30th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Brazil after a dictatorship of more than two decades.

Brazil has seen major protests intermittently since 2013, when demonstrations in Sao Paulo over a hike in bus fares snowballed into the largest nationwide anti-government demonstrations in 20 years.

In recent weeks there has been a growing drumbeat calling for the impeachment of Rousseff, who won re-election with 51 per cent of the vote in an October runoff.

According to a recent poll by the Datafolha Institute, Rousseff's approval rating dropped in February to a four-year low of 23 per cent.

Brazil's economy, the world's seventh largest, was stagnant in 2014 and is forecast to contract in 2015.

The unfolding scandal at Petrobras has tarnished Rousseff, who chaired the company's board of directors for eight years.

The head of Petrobras, with whom Rousseff had close ties, stepped down last month after prosecutors alleged that billions of dollars were embezzled to bribe political parties and elected officials. Legislators and former ministers, including many from Rousseff's political coalition, are under investigation.

- dpa

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