Protests against Rousseff continue despite lower attendance

Tens of thousands of Brazilians take to streets to urge ousting of President Dilma Rousseff for fourth time this year

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Demonstrators rally calling for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at Paulista Avenue, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on December 13, 2015

Tens of thousands of Brazilians gathered in the streets to demand President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment on Sunday.

Protesters took to the streets in both large cities such as Sao Paulo as well as smaller towns. However, the number of participators was lower than in previous such demonstrations.

The Globo G1 news website cites police saying the total number of protesters was 83,000, while organizers gave the number as 407,000.

In either case, the number is lower than the 2.4 million anti-Rousseff marchers that took to the streets on March, or the 900,000 that marched in August.

There are three key factors which have caused the protests against Rousseff.

The first is the accusation that she manipulated government finances for her re-election campaign in 2014.

The second and likely the most important is that she is responsible for Brazil's weakening economy, with the country suffering its worst economic recession in at least 25 years.

And finally a corruption scandal surrounding the state oil company, Petrobras, which Rousseff headed between 2003 and 2010, when much of the alleged corruption occurred.

Rousseff denies the accusations and has pledged to fight impeachment in order to finish her second term.

Demonstrators hold inflatable dolls depicting President Dilma Rousseff (C) and the former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as they take part in a protest calling for the impeachment of Rousseff in Sao Paulo, Brazil, December 13, 2015

"Time has shown that Dilma is unable to govern. She's thrown the country down a well," said Adriano de Queiroz, a protester in the capital, Brasilia.

"Inflation is through the roof, unemployment is shockingly high and we get nothing for the amount of taxes we pay," said Andre Patrao, an economist demonstrating in Rio.

"This is just a warm-up, there will be a huge mobilisation in January," said Paloma Morena, a scientist in Sao Paulo.

Blaming the 15 day notice for the low attendance, Kim Kataguiri, national coordinator for the Brazil Libre protest group, said, "We were expecting fewer people [on Sunday] because in the other marches we had two to three months to organize ourselves."

Last week the Brazilian Supreme Court suspended for a week the parliament's approval of appointing a committee to study whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff over the corruption scandals.

Of the 65 lawmakers elected to the panel, about 30 percent face criminal probes, specialist website Congresso em Foco reported.

House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, the architect of the impeachment drive, has himself been formally charged with taking bribes in the Petrobras scandal.

He is accused of using the impeachment battle to take revenge against the government and increase his own influence.

Meanwhile, the CUT (Unified Workers' Central) called a protest against impeachment on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court will meet for a full session.


TRTWorld and agencies