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Brazil readies for Sunday’s mass protests; tepid marches in support of Dilma on Friday

Sunday, March 15th 2015 - 02:25 UTC
Full article 4 comments
Police said 12,000 people blocked one of the main avenues of Sao Paulo, marching in defense of Petrobras and worker rights threatened by belt-tightening economic policies. (Pic Reuters) Police said 12,000 people blocked one of the main avenues of Sao Paulo, marching in defense of Petrobras and worker rights threatened by belt-tightening economic policies. (Pic Reuters)
Sunday’s protest marches which are scheduled to take place in at least fifty cities have been organized through the social networks with apparently no political parties’ influence Sunday’s protest marches which are scheduled to take place in at least fifty cities have been organized through the social networks with apparently no political parties’ influence

Pro-government labor unions, student organizations and social activists staged demonstrations across Brazil on Friday in support of President Dilma Rousseff, two days before mass protests planned against her administration.

 The populist leader is facing a wave of discontent over a stalling economy, unpopular budget cuts and a corruption scandal over kickbacks at Petrobras that has implicated tens of politicians from her governing coalition, and numbers keep increasing.

The protests on Sunday could deepen a political crisis that has given rise to calls for Rousseff's impeachment for not stopping a multibillion-dollar graft racket at Petrobras, the country’s largest company and once the pride of Latin America’s number one economy.

Sunday’s protest marches which are scheduled to take place in at least fifty cities have been organized through the social networks with apparently no political parties’ influence, similar to what happened during the Confederation Cup in 2013. Friday’s marches on the other hand were clearly organized by political groups and associations closely aligned and supportive of the Workers Party and the administration of Dilma Rousseff.

Police said 12,000 people blocked one of the main avenues of Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, marching in the rain to defend the state-run oil company and worker rights threatened by belt-tightening economic policies. Organizers put the figure in 40.000.

“Dilma stays” said banners held by followers of the Communist Party of Brazil, a Rousseff coalition member. Turnout in other Brazilian cities was smaller. There were no reports of violence.

The demonstrators had contradictory slogans. While backing Rousseff, the unions called for the withdrawal of her measures to reduce unemployment and pension benefits, part of an austerity plan she has to enforce to bridge a huge fiscal deficit and save Brazil from a credit rating downgrade.

The graft investigation has led to 40 indictments on racketeering, bribery and money-laundering charges, including two former Petrobras senior managers and 23 executives from six of Brazil's leading construction and engineering firms.

Prosecutors say the companies paid huge kickbacks on overpriced contracts with Petrobras and the funds were divided between corrupt managers and politicians. Most of the alleged corruption occurred when Rousseff was chairwoman of the Petrobras board. She has denied knowing about the graft scheme.

Brazil's main opposition party, the centrist PSDB, has endorsed the protests against Rousseff called for Sunday afternoon. But the party says it does not back her impeachment.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • Conqueror

    But will the 'protests' do any good? Here's some tips for Brazilians. Surround the Palácio da Alvorada. Surround every military and police building. Enter the Palácio. Drag her out to be arraigned before a people's court. She can spend some weeks in prison between hearings. Used to that. Being a terrorist. What sort of country let's a convicted terrorist stand for office and assume supremacy? The murder capital of the world?

    Mar 15th, 2015 - 02:00 pm 0
  • imoyaro

    Wow, even the Freemasons were out demonstrating against Dilma. Any comments, Paul? ;)

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/81665000/jpg/_81665893_81665892.jpg

    Mar 16th, 2015 - 12:00 am 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Sunday , 9PM, just got back from the protest demonstration against the fat B , Lula and the cursed PT.....the whole length of the Avenida Paulista was crammed with people dressed in green, blue or yellow, to show their hatred of the government ....an estimate of 1 to 1.2 million people.....rain and all, everyone stayed and made sure that the PT got the message, shouting in chorus, several slogans against the dirty petista scum....stayed for only 2 to 3 hours, then thought it would be wise to retire to a bar to have a few beers ; at about 8PM, the idiotic Minister of Justice, and one other communist minister, went on TV to try to downplay jhe protest, saying that it is something normal in a democracy.....they got that right, but I'm pretty sure that Dilma and her cronies still haven't realized that she is hated by more than half the Brazilian population....I wish her all the worst !

    Mar 16th, 2015 - 01:24 am 0
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