Thousands rally across Brazil as pressure builds on Temer to step down (VIDEO)
Mass protests calling for the ouster of President Michel Temer over bribery allegations have gripped Brazilian cities. Hundreds of people took to the streets in at least 16 regions on Sunday, as more groups joined the calls for impeachment.
In San Paolo, several hundred people poured onto the streets despite the torrential rain. The protesters, mobilized by major labor unions and Brazil’s Communist Party, carried party banners emblazoned with slogans such as “Temer Out” and “Direct Elections.”
“We’re here to get Temer out of government because he is a coup leader, because he is against teachers,” a participant of the march, Tatiana Camargos, said, as cited by AP, referring to the impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rouseeff that her supporters considered a coup.
Rouseeff was accused of manipulating statistical data to cover the growing budget deficit and secure reelection in 2014. Her supporters argue that the allegations were a part of a plot by Temer and other political opponents to seize power.
Among the attendees of the anti-Temer protest were politicians. Addressing the crowd, city councilor Eduardo Suplicy pointed to hypocrisy of Temer, who had not delivered on his pledge to quit if someone in his government was accused of corruption.
"Temer himself said that if one of his ministers were to be investigated, he resigns. As he is now being investigated, he must leave to pacify these wonderful Brazilian people," Suplicy said, as cited by Estadao.
In Rio de Janeiro, some 200 demonstrators gathered for a rally in front of the house of speaker of the lower house of Congress Rodrigo Maia. The relatively low number of those who turned up was attributed by the organizers to heavy rain.
Some 400 people filled in the square in front of the Republic Museum in the federal capital, Brasilia, waving the flags of CONTAG, Brazilia’s largest federation of agricultural labor unions and distinctive red star flags.
In contrast to Brazil’s biggest cities, where many were no-show due to the bad weather, tens of thousands of people marched in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte in the country’s south on Sunday morning, the Globo reported.
According to various estimates provided by the organizers, the left-wing movements and labor unions, from 30,000 up to 50,000 people took part in the march.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s bar association voted overwhelmingly to launch impeachment proceedings, stating that it is poised to file an impeachment request to the parliament in addition to at least eight impeachment requests already submitted by the lawmakers.
“We are requesting the impeachment of another president of the republic, the second time… in one year and four months,” the association’s president, Claudio Lamachia said, as cited by the Financial Times.
Temer, who insists he is innocent in the corruption scandal, was on the verge of losing support of his key coalition partner, PSDB, on Sunday. It was supposed to decide whether to walk out of the coalition with Temer’s PMDB, but Temer was spared as it cancelled the session last minute.
The Brazilian leader is accused of approving a bribe to the former parliament speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is now serving a prison sentence on corruption charges involving the country’s state-run oil giant Petrobras. Cunha was one of the key senior lawmakers pushing for the ouster of Rousseff last year.
The current revelations stem from tape recordings submitted in the case of Joesley Batista, co-owner of Brazil’s largest meatpacking company, JBS. Temer has rejected all the claims implicating him in the scandal, arguing that the tapes were tampered with. Temer has insisted he will not step down.