EspañolAlmost 2 million anti-government protesters descended upon the streets of 438 cities across Brazil on Sunday, March 13, to demand the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff. Her administration and left-wing Workers’ Party are accused of influence-peddling and bribery at the state-run oil firm Petrobras.
Sunday’s massive protests are the largest demonstrations against the ruling Workers’ Party so far, surpassing the 1.7 million attendees in March of last year. In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and an opposition stronghold, it was the largest gathering ever registered according to local newspaper Folha: 450,000 protesters took to the streets.
It was also the first time that opposition parties officially participated in the protests, which began as a grass-roots movement of citizens angered with corruption and a deepening economic crisis. Opposition legislators are seeking support for an impeachment procedure against President Rousseff, who intends to remain in office until the end of her mandate in 2018.
For over a year, the president’s popularity has remained at historical lows as annual inflation levels have reached two digits and the economy shrank by -3.8 percent of GDP in 2015. This is the darkest hour for the Workers’ Party after 13 years in government.
“I call for no violence [during the protests in Brazil],” the president told reporters on Saturday. “I believe all have the right to go out on the streets … [but] no one has the right to create violence. No one.”
Smiling, she appeared on television on Friday to counter her critics: “Do you think I have a look of resignation? Do you think I am one to resign? I do not have that attitude in life… Notice, at least, that I don’t look like someone who is going to resign,” she told reporters.
Simultaneously on Sunday, thousands of government sympathizers demonstrated their support for President Rousseff and former President da Silva. The Workers’ Party claims that a “judiciary coup d’état” is underway and that both leaders are the victims of a discrediting campaign by the media.