Protestors Urge Brazilian President to Resign

By Isla Lamont,
International News Writer

The streets of Brazil have been filled with protestors since Sunday, Mar. 13, calling for the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff and her governing faction, the Worker’s Party, are currently being blamed for Brazil’s crumbling economic standing. The street rallies began two days after the President stated she would not be resigning in the face of growing controversy.

Inflation, recession, and unemployment have all become rampant in the South American hub, which had formerly been lauded as one of the world’s next great economic superpowers. The country has now lost its investment-grade status.

Rousseff faces impeachment charges for masking the severity of the country’s budget deficit, and misusing government funds during the worst recession in decades. In addition, a federal investigation is being conducted into her involvement with the oil giant Petrobras, according to CNBC.
According to BBC, prosecutors say contractors skimmed billions of dollars from the company to illegally finance politicians, most notably the Worker’s Party.

At the time of the alleged infractions, Rousseff was the head of the Petrobras board, though she has denied any knowledge of corruption.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who served from 2003 to 2011, is also entangled in the investigations with Petrobras as well as charges of money laundering.

Silva went from being one of the most widely loved presidents to one of the country’s most despised politicians, and is also a member of the Worker’s Party as well as a mentor to Rousseff.

Rousseff, whose second term runs through 2018, recently offered Silva a ministerial post, which would make him immune to imprisonment on any charges.

The protests were strongest in the city of Sao Paolo, known as the economic capital of Brazil. Polling agency Datafolha estimated that the number of protestors peaked at 500,000 while police stationed around the city estimated 1.4 million.
Another estimated 1 million people demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro. The protesters were nonviolent and were even reported to have a “festive” atmosphere, according to CBS.

The BBC reports that protestors donned elaborate outfits, held giant inflated cartoon figures of Rousseff and Silva that displayed prison stripes, banners, and emblazoned the city streets in their patriotic green and yellow attire.

In response to the demonstrations, Rousseff said that, “The peaceful character of this Sunday’s demonstrations shows the maturity of a country that knows how to co-exist with different opinions and knows how to secure respect to its laws and institutions,” as quoted by CBS.

Political analysts, however, believe that these protestors will put significant strain on her position in office, and will most likely lead to her impeachment or eventual resignation.

Francisco Fonseca, professor at Pontifical Catholic University in Sao Paulo, said, “There is a situation of un-governability. The president has few cards,” according to CBS.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 22nd print edition.

Contact Isla at
Rachel.lamont@student.shu.edu

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