Brazil: Tens of thousands protest against Bolsonaro’s response to COVID-19
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated again on Saturday in several Brazilian cities against President Jair Bolsonaro and his contested handling of the pandemic.
Brazil is the second most affected country in the world with more than 461,000 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic. It recorded its deadliest month in April with around 100,000 dead.
Some 10,000 masked people marched in Rio de Janeiro, responding to a call from left-wing organizations and student movements.
“No one wants to be on the streets in the middle of a pandemic. Bolsonaro leaves no alternative. We are on the streets defending lives. We are not going to wait for (the presidential election of) 2022. This is not just the start, ”said Guilherme Boulos, leader of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST).
In Sao Paulo, protester Jonas Davanco said: “I don’t know if Brazil will be able to do it, but we have an obligation to remove it from power because it is killing people.”
Since the start of the pandemic, which he describes as “flu”, the Brazilian president has criticized quarantine measures, promoted unproven drugs and questioned the effectiveness of vaccines.
Protesters say many deaths could have been avoided if the government had launched the slow vaccination campaign earlier.
They also accuse the president of promoting Amazon deforestation, violence and racism.
Demonstrations took place in many Brazilian cities, including Salvador (northeast), the capital Brasilia and Belo Horizonte (southeast).
The organizers asked participants to respect social distancing measures and distributed masks and hydro-alcoholic gel.
The rallies come after two weekends of demonstrations in support of the government called by Bolsonaro himself.
Its popularity rating has fallen to 24%, its lowest level, according to a survey conducted by the Datafolha institute.
The poll also found that 49% of Brazilians were in favor of his impeachment, while 46% were against. He places former left-wing president Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro’s main rival, as the frontrunner to win the 2022 presidential election.