Hundreds of thousands across Brazil have called for an end to corruption, demanding the impeachment of president Rousseff
Nearly a million people have taken part in marches across 22 Brazilian states last week to protest a weak economy, rising prices and corruption.
Brazil has not seen such widespread demonstrations since protests in 2013 over World Cup spending.
Brazilians called for the impeachment of recently re-elected President Dilma Rousseff, over the oil firm Petrobras corruption scandal.
Critics say that Rousseff must have known about the alleged bribery that took place. The political opposition claims that she was head of the oil company when the bribery occurred.
Rousseff has vehemently denied any claims of her involvement and has been acquitted in an investigation by the attorney general.
Over 10,000 people shouted “Dilma, out!” on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana Beach, dressed in the blue, green and yellow of Brazil’s flag, some singing the national anthem.
“People feel betrayed,” said 32-year-old Diogo Ortiz. He called the Petrobras scandal “a national and international disgrace”.
Rousseff’s government has been heavily criticized for quite some time over its possible involvement in the Petrobras scandal. Brazilians nonetheless voted in favour of returning the Worker’s Party to power in an election late last year.
The largest of last week’s demonstrations took place in nearby Sao Paulo with estimates set at 210,000 by a private pollster. However, police maintained that nearly one million people could be seen in aerial photographs protesting along Sao Paulo’s Avenida Paulista.
Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo called the demonstrations an “expression of democracy”, reassuring the people that the government did not disagree with Brazilians’ rights to peaceful assembly.
Rousseff’s government later introduced a series of measures aimed at tackling the issue of corruption at a federal level. The measures, contained in a series of bills, would criminalize the use of slash funds that are widely used by political parties to finance their campaigns. Rousseff also issued a decree implementing an anti-bribery law passed last year that has yet to be enforced.
The opposition parties have backed last week’s protests, while not openly calling for the impeachment of the President.
Rousseff supporters have also taken part in their own counter-demonstrations, calling demands for the President’s impeachment only five months after her re-election a ‘coup attempt’.
The Brazilian Worker’s Party has been in power since 2003 and has been known for reducing levels of extreme poverty.