Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to hold talks with her growing number of critics and said her embattled government needed to show humility, after the Sunday massive protests erupted across the country.
Rousseff was narrowly re-elected less than six months ago in a bitterly fought runoff but is already facing pressure to quit over a snowballing 3.8bn graft scandal at state oil firm Petrobras which has dragged in her ruling coalition and seen calls for her to be impeached.
Her mounting woes include a badly faltering economy and on Sunday protests against her took place in major towns and cities across Brazil, laying bare the scale of public discontent.
Rousseff suffered a fresh blow Monday when a senior member of her ruling Workers' Party (PT) became one of the most high-profile public figures formally accused of corruption in the murky Petrobras graft case, which stretched back to a period when Rousseff chaired the company board.
In a closely watched speech in Brasilia, Rousseff said her under pressure government had to open dialogue with society and act with humility.
She urged the country to unite and told parties across the political spectrum to pay attention to the rising anger on the streets, including agreeing a package of wide-ranging political reform which she intends to unveil in the crucial next few days.
Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader imprisoned and tortured under the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, added she was committed to governing for 200 million Brazilians -- those who voted for me and those who did not.
Referring to the protest marches that drew more almost two million onto the streets, she said: ”When I saw hundreds of thousands of civilians demonstrating I could not help but think how it had been worth fighting for this freedom (from dictatorship).
Rousseff chaired the Petrobras board during much of the alleged corruption period. She is not being investigated, but leaders of her ruling coalition have been named in an ever-widening probe.
Sunday’s massive turnout followed a first wave in June 2013 which saw similar large numbers of disgruntled civilians demonstrate over transport fare hikes and the spending of billions of dollars on last year's World Cup and next year's Rio Olympics.
But whereas the 2013 demonstrations targeted the political class in general, Sunday's marches primarily took aim at Rousseff. As Rousseff looks to ride out the storm, more protests are slated for April 12.
Former president Lula da Silva's press secretary Ricardo Kotscho said that clearly today a political cycle is coming to an end in Brazil. The Dilma government has run out of ammunition and no longer knows what to do to calm the masses.”