EspañolMillions of protesters gathered on Sunday, March 15, in over 50 Brazilian cities to protest the sitting president, Dilma Rousseff, some even calling for her impeachment. The demonstrations follow revelations of corruption involving the state-run oil company Petrobras and a downturn in the Brazilian economy.
According to the Brazilian Military Police, 45,000 protesters marched in Brasilia, 20,000 in Belo Horizonte, 20,000 in Belem, 15,000 in Rio de Janeiro, 8,000 in Recife, and 4,000 in Salvador.
However, the biggest demonstration took place in San Paulo, where according to Brazilian pollster Datafolha, 200,000 marched through the streets. State police, on the other hand, estimated the number of demonstrators to be over 1 million.
“We are here to express our indignation with the government-sponsored corruption and thieving, and to demand Dilma’s impeachment,” said Andre Menezes, 35, protesting on Avenida Paulista in San Paulo.
“She may have not been directly involved in the corruption at Petrobras, but she certainly knew about it, and for me that makes her just as guilty and justifies her ousting,” he added.
Despite investigators having cleared Rousseff of any wrongdoing, most of the politicians who allegedly received bribes are from the governing coalition party.
After Sunday’s demonstration, which marks the biggest mobilization since Brazil’s return to democracy, the Rousseff administration announced plans to present a package of anti-corruption measures.
Secretary General Miguel Rossetto and Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo told reporters in Brasilia that Rousseff will deliver the package within days. Cardozo said the government is open to dialogue and that the country needs “political reform,” including a ban on corporate finance of electoral campaigns.
According to political analyst Thiago de Aragao, however, the announcement will not curb discontent among Brazilians: “The anti-corruption package will be more fluff than anything real, but at this moment it’s one of the main things that the government has to respond with. They don’t have much more than that.”