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Large protests across Brazil seek to oust president

Published:Monday | April 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM
People sing the Brazilian national anthem as they march during an anti-government protest at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday.


Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Brazil yesterday for anti-government demonstrations across the continent-sized country.

It was the second such day of protests in less than a month and comes as polls show President Dilma Rousseff, four months into her second term, with historically low approval ratings amid a corruption scandal at the state-run oil company, Petrobras, as well as a spluttering economy, a rapidly depreciating currency and political infighting.

The protest movement has been organised, mostly via social media, by a motley assortment of groups. Most call for Rousseff's impeachment, but they are joined by others with demands ranging from looser gun control laws to a military coup.

Helicopter television images showed crowds of demonstrators, many of them dressed in the yellow and green colors of the Brazilian flag and brandishing placards reading 'Dilma Out', congregating in the capital, Brasilia, and cities from Belem in the Amazon rainforest region to the southern city of Curitiba.

Diminishing crowds

Still, the crowds seemed thinner than at the March 15 demonstrations, when more than 200,000 people turned out just in S„o Paulo, Brazil's economic capital and an opposition bastion. That rally was among the city's biggest since demonstrations in 1984 demanding the end of the military dictatorship.

S„o Paulo protester Renato Alves Pereira said he was hoped the movement would succeed in ousting Rousseff.

"She must be impeached because she and the Workers' Party are responsible for all that is wrong with Brazil corruption, inflation and unemployment on the rise, terrible public services like health and education," said the 34-year-old marketing director.

In Rio de Janeiro, a protest along the golden sands of Copacabana drew a sparse few thousand people, a far cry from the strong turnout here last month.

Analysts say a lower turnout could harm the future of the campaign to impeach Rousseff.