Tens of thousands of Brazilians participated in demonstrations across the country on Sunday against the leadership of President Dilma Rousseff, who is currently facing historically low approval ratings and mounting criticism just four months into her second term in office. The protests follow a showing of approximately one million Brazilians at anti-Rousseff protests across the country one month prior.
According to the Associated Press, Sunday’s protests were coordinated through social media and organized by groups calling for the impeachment of Rousseff. Rousseff’s second term, which began in January, has been plagued by a a struggling economy and a high-profile corruption scandal involving the state-owned Petrobas oil company, where local politicians allegedly are pulling strings. While Rousseff served on the board of the company, she hasn’t individually been implicated.
Crowds were largest in Sao Paulo and protesters were seen holding signs that read “Dilma Out” from the national capital Brasilia to other cities like Belem and Curitiba. In Rio de Janeiro, protests drew a sparse crowd of a few thousand along Copacabana. Rousseff has been unpopular throughout her tenure in Brazil's southern cities where much of the population opposes her Workers Party.
While notable, the crowds Sunday represented just a fraction of protesters that have rallied over the past few weeks. Last month more than 200,000 people rallied in just Brazil's economic center, Sao Paulo, calling for Rousseff’s dismissal.
“She must be impeached because she and the Workers’ Party are responsible for all that is wrong with Brazil -- corruption, inflation and unemployment on the rise, terrible public services like health and education,” a protester in Sao Paulo, Renato Alves Pereira, told the AP.
Ahead of the protests in March, analysts did not think impeachment was likely, with momentum against Rousseff seeming to fluctuate. However, according to a survey released on Saturday by newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo 63 percent of those surveyed would support impeaching Rousseff, with just 33 percent opposing.
While Rousseff has moved to weed out the corruption in Petrobas, experts believed her problems were more serious than that. “She appears to be doing the right thing on the economy and the scandal,” Peter Hakim, the president emeritus of Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank told IBTimes in March. “But she doesn’t have the political charm, charisma or the skills that enable one to communicate forcefully and create confidence.”