Brazilians took the streets over the weekend calling for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under fire for his government's handling of COVID-19, which has raged through the country claiming more than 216,000 lives and 8,9 million contagions.
Cars with claxons paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a dozen or more other cities as other protesters marched on foot, some calling, “Get out Bolsonaro!”
Sunday's protests were called by conservative groups that had once backed the president, while those on Saturday had come from left groupings.
Sunday protestors complained about their disappointment, and now with the situation in Manaus, capital of Amazon state, where hospitals have run out of oxygen for the interned with the virus.
However Thomaz Favaro, a political analyst at consultancy Control Risks, said Bolsonaro faces little risk of impeachment, though that could change if his allies lose a Feb. 2 vote for leadership of the lower house. “Bolsonaro’s base in congress is unstable, but it is robust,” he said, though it could be dented by the president's flagging popularity.
Bolsonaro — who is midway through his four-year term — has faced renewed criticism in recent weeks for both the crisis in Manaus and for delays in launching Brazil's immunization campaign against COVID-19. The president has long resisted lockdown measures against the new virus, arguing economic damage would be worse than the disease.
Brazil’s prosecutor-general, Augusto Aras, on Saturday asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello over the crisis in Manaus, capital of Amazonas state. Aras cited a document that said the ministry knew of a possible shortage of oxygen on Jan. 8, but didn't start sending extra supplies until Jan. 12.
A newly released Datafolha survey from Jan. 20-21 showed support for Bolsonaro fell to 37% from 41% in December, the biggest one-month drop since the start of his administration. The number terming his performance bad rose to 40% from 32%. The margin of error was two percentage points.
The weekend's demonstrations come as calls for Bolsonaro's impeachment rise, though most analysts consider it unlikely to occur.
Carlos Ayres Britto, former president of the Brazilian Court, former presidential candidate Ciro Gomes and even singer Chico Buarque have called for the president to face impeachment for his response to the pandemic. A leading newspaper, O Estado de Sao Paulo, also published an editorial calling for impeachment on Friday.