Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


1 000s march calling for Brazil president to resign

16 March 2015, 11:17

Sao Paulo - Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians marched peacefully on Sunday in over 50 cities around the country to demand President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment and to criticise government corruption.

The biggest protests were in Sao Paulo, an opposition stronghold where hundreds of thousands gathered on a main avenue, as well as in the capital city of Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.

Dozens of cities saw demonstrations gathering together a few thousand people each. According to the website of the Globo TV network, Brazil's largest, the total number in the streets across Brazil was over 300 000 people, based on local police estimates.

"We are here to express our indignation with the government-sponsored corruption and thieving and to demand Dilma's impeachment," said Andre Menezes, aged 35, protesting with hundreds of thousands on Avenida Paulista in Sao 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 ouster," he added.

In Rio, police estimated 15 000 people marched along the golden sands of Copacabana beach, where they waved Brazilian flags and many openly called for a military coup to dissolve the government.

"I don't want my country to turn into a Venezuela, we don't want an authoritarian government!" said Marlon Aymes, aged 35, helping carry a long banner that read in English: "Army, Navy and Air Force. Please Save Us Once Again of Communism."

"We want the military to dissolve Congress and call new elections, because the level of corruption is too widespread to do anything else," Aymes added.


Much protester ire was focused on a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, which prosecutors call the biggest corruption scheme ever uncovered in Brazil. At least $800m was paid in bribes and other funds by the nation's biggest construction and engineering firms in exchange for inflated Petrobras contracts.

Top executives are already in jail and the attorney general is investigating dozens of top congressmen, along with current and former members of the executive branch, for alleged connections to the scheme that apparently began in 1997 before Rousseff's party took power in 2003. Rousseff, a former chairperson of Petrobras' board, has not been implicated and so far is not being investigated, though top officials from her administration, including two former chiefs of staff, are caught up in the inquiry.

The marches add pressure on Rousseff, whose poll ratings have never been lower and who is facing duel economic and political crises. But the protests are significantly different than anti-government demonstrations in 2013. Those earlier protests cut across political, social and economic lines, and were a widespread expression of frustration with poor public services like health care and transportation, as well as a cry against government corruption.

Sunday's protests, largely organised by ad-hoc right-leaning groups over social media, appeared far more politically focused, and demonstrators came from social classes that voted against Rousseff in her narrow re-election in October.

Also read: Brazil raises toll of bus accident to 49, resumes search

Despite their partisan nature, the mass marches are another thorn in Rousseff's side. They also add impetus to opposition efforts to thwart measures she backs in Congress, where even those in the ruling Workers' Party coalition are creating hurdles as she tries to push through austerity measures.

Brazilian growth has been weak since Rousseff took office in 2011. The country likely entered a recession in 2014 and most economists surveyed by the Central Bank forecast negative growth for this year. Inflation is rising and the local currency has plummeted against the dollar in recent weeks, making life more expensive in a nation with a surprisingly high cost of living and one of the world's heaviest tax burdens.

Still, Brazil's top opposition political figures, including a former president and the top candidates who ran against Rousseff in last year's election, say impeachment is undesirable, because the president isn't accused of any connection to the Petrobras scandal, and because it could affect Brazil's stability.

Pedro Arruda, a political scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University in Sao Paulo, said demonstrators have the right to demand Rousseff's ouster, "but the impeachment they ... demand has no legal foot to stand on."

"The accumulated feelings of frustration, disappointment and discontent will fuel the demonstrations, but cannot be used to justify calls for her impeachment," Arruda said.

At Copacabana beach, protester Sheila Alcantara said she was angry she had to recently close a restaurant she owned because of rapidly rising prices for electricity and food.

"Never in my life have I heard of so much corruption, of so much money lost," she said. "A military intervention is the only way to clean the government, the executive branch cabinet, the Congress. They're all bribed off."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...