— Arjen Uijterlinde (@arjenuijterlind) March 16, 2015
About 1.5 million protesters hit the streets across Brazil on Sunday in a major show of anger against leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who faces crises from a faltering economy to a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.
Many called for the impeachment of Rousseff, less than six months after she was narrowly returned to power in the most bitterly fought presidential race since the end of a military dictatorship in 1985.
The biggest demonstration took place in Sao Paulo, where a million people rallied — according to police estimates — many in the distinctive yellow and green of Brazil’s national football team. The city — South America’s biggest, and Brazil’s business and industrial hub — is a stronghold of opposition to Rousseff.
Peaceful demonstrations also took place in 83 cities and towns around the country, including major protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.
— Gate 15 (@Gate_15_Analyst) March 16, 2015
Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s ImpeachmentThe Guardian, of course, refers to them as “Rightwing demonstrations,” since demanding transparency and an end to corruption is clearly not a leftie “thing,” and Dilma is definitely a leftie.
The latest protests coincide with the 30th anniversary of the year in which Brazil’s military dictatorship ended and democracy was restored. In recent days, Brazilians have debated whether the demonstrations would mark a milestone for democratic expression and free speech or, conversely, signal the country’s unwillingness to obey the verdict of the ballot box when times turn tough.
Will the protests make a difference? Only if the people of Brazil are deteermined to strengthen the institutions that guarantee transparency and the rule of law.
Until then, no.