There were massive protests across Brazil's major cities on Sunday calling for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff. Things just got real in Rio.
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians gathered on Sunday to protest political corruption, a weak economy, and to call for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on a day that could build momentum for efforts to oust her.
Demonstrators wearing shirts with the green and yellow colors of Brazil’s flag and carrying banners calling for Rousseff’s ouster filled the streets of cities across the country. They marched beside Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, toward Congress in the capital Brasilia, and down Sao Paulo’s Avenida Paulista. The atmosphere in most cities was festive, though, and free of the violence that some feared if there were confrontations between opposing political groups.
Initial estimates indicated turnout was higher than in similar demonstrations in December, when about 100,000 took to the streets nationwide. On Sunday, about 100,000 people marched in Brasilia alone, according to the Military Police, with several thousand participating in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Ronaldo Cappellesso, a 45-year-old store owner in Brasilia, said it feels like the country has reached a tipping point, with many of his friends protesting for the first time. “Finally I feel that impeachment is actually going to happen,” he said. “Anything is better than what we have now.”
Many Brazilians say they have had enough after enduring the worst recession in decades and a rolling corruption scandal known as Lava Jato, or Carwash in English, that has ensnared multiple politicians and business executives. The outpouring of public sentiment may be decisive for legislators debating whether to remain loyal to the president or join a swelling opposition seeking her ouster, as former allies begin to discuss political solutions for a post-Rousseff Brazil.
The political spectacle is playing out less than five months before the 2016 Olympic Games, the first awarded to a South American country, are due to start in Rio de Janeiro.
I honestly don't know if the Games will go on and I don't think they should, but that's another matter. Rouseff's government is thoroughly corrupt, Brazil's economy is in freefall and the cries for her ouster will only get louder. Several administration officials are turning states' evidence and it looks like Rouseff will be gone sooner rather than later.
We'll see where this goes.