Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo saw the largest protests in the country.
Thousands of people protested Sunday against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the Workers Party (PT) in at least nine states and the capital, Brasilia, in events organized by groups advocating the removal or resignation of the president and/or a military intervention.
They were numerous posters and banners with the slogan “Get out Dilma” and “Get out PT” among the thousands of protestors who gathered in large numbers all over the nation.
As it occurred in the previous two marches held since January, after Rousseff started her second term, organized groups propose explicitly military action as a solution for the current political and economic crisis that is shaking the Rousseff government, who according to recent polls, has seen her popular support slip down to only eight percent of the electorate.
The Brazilian President convened on Sunday with her closest ministers to assess the impact of mass demonstrations.
News reports detail that the meeting at the Planalto Palace -headquarters of the Presidency, in Brasilia, was attended by the head of the Civil Cabinet, Aloizio Mercadante, and the ministers of Social Communication, Edinho Silva and Justice, José Eduardo Cardozo.
The president is going through the most critical moment of her administration since taking over the country for the second time although over 70% of the electorate now reject her actions as president.
In Rio de Janeiro, some called out not only for the president but also her predecessor and political godfather, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to be put in jail.
Both Lula and Rousseff are associated with the corruption scandal in the state oil company Petrobras, under which senior officials government and PT officials have been sent to jail. Along with the politicians, the Federal Police also caught executives from major national construction companies as well as the former treasurer of the Worker’s Party (PT), Joao Vaccari Neto, on suspicion of illegally raising funds for the Rousseff election campaign.
Corruption is one of the triggers of the protests against the government, along with the economic crisis, in a country on the brink of depression and rising inflation and unemployment.
“The military has to act,” Ricardo Barbosa, 49, said while participating in the rally along Copacabana beach.
The main groups that called the protest were the Movement for a Free Brazil (MBL), Vem Pra Rua, and Revoltados On Line (Outraged On Line). Supporters of these groups arrived at Avenida Paulista with their cars and loudspeakers to lead the protests. With them were pro-military groups like the Nationalist Democratic Union (UND) and Patria Amada Brazil.
In Brasilia, the act on the Esplanade of Ministries included the participation of some politicians, including opposition Senator Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, who ran for vice-president with Aécio Neves, who Rousseff defeated in the second round election last October.
Nunes ruled that attendance at the protests was smaller than in the past, and said that regardless of the number of demonstrators, opposition to Rousseff is “oceanic”.
In the North Eastern region of the country, Federal deputy Jarbas Vasconcelos said that the resignation of the president is “the only way for Brazil.”
Vasconcelos called for the departure of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha, who broke relations with Rousseff’s government and promoted more government spending despite having compromised with the Rousseff administration to support austerity measures. Cunha is also suspected of having received funds diverted from Petrobras.
Brazil’s new hero
Among the novelties of the new protest against the Government of Brazil, in a total of 26 states, is the fact that the protesters seem to have found a new hero.
They have substituted former political idol, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by Judge Sergio Moro, who is exposing the viscera of political and corporate corruption in the operation Lava Jato.
Instead of being cheered, Lula was identified as a Mafia Don, and was referred to as “The Boss”. Protesters tore the image of his face and called him a “traitor”.
Brazilians are dissatisfied with the government, which they blame for the economic crisis that is touching the pockets of the people. Brazilian discomfort was already evident before the demonstrations.
What is new is that for the first time, the great challenge of the Brazilian society is the fight against corruption, which contradicts those who were defending the idea that Brazil was comfortable with it , as it was something consubstantial with the idiosyncrasies of the country that was reflected in the famous ‘Brazilian way of doing things’.
Sunday’s demonstrations have brought even more awareness about corruption with judge Moro’s support increasing as he wages war on corruption and carries out a type of cleansing that ends up with the imprisonment of corrupt government officials and corporate executives.
The onslaught against the hero Lula, against Dilma Rousseff and their party is linked precisely with the discovery of new hero [Moro], who sent to jail people who are suspected of having used illegal money to finance the party while enriching themselves.
Lula, considered not only the founder but the indisputable soul of the PT, without whom, they say, the PT would disappear, is now covered by the same cloud of popular outrage against corruption.
If one day Brazil painted itself with the red color of the PT, street demonstrations now show that Brazilians are discolored and have adopted the green and yellow that dominates all manifestations. It seems that the people here have found meaning to simply and above all be Brazilian.