Opponents of the Brazilian government have asked the army to stage an "intervention," but the military has ignored those requests, Brazilian Defense Minister Jacques Wagner said Tuesday. He said those who called for a military coup represented a "minority" of people who were protesting against the government, EFE reported.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has approval ratings of just 13 percent, and her government has been plagued by accusations of corruption. The request for a coup came as anti-government protests entered their second month, with about 275,000 marching in Sao Paulo and about 700,000 in total across the country Sunday.
Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company, is being investigated amid accusations of corruption, including bribery and money laundering, some of which involved politicians in Rousseff's Workers' Party. Rousseff herself served as chairwoman of Petrobras during some of the time the bribery allegedly happened, CNN reported. Protesters have called for Rousseff's impeachment.
Wagner, the defense minister, said requests for a military intervention had "near zero" support among troops. He called such a request an "affront to democracy" and said most Brazilians did not support calls for Rousseff to resign, be impeached or be forcibly removed.
The largest protests against Rousseff's government took place in mid-March, when two million people in cities all over Brazil took to the streets. Brazil is currently enduring an economic slump, with high inflation and falling commodity prices. The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the country's economy will shrink this year and said that resolving the scandal at Petrobras, which emerged in March 2014, should be a priority for the country.
Rousseff was re-elected president in October. First elected in 2010, she is the first woman to hold that office. The last military coup in Brazil was in 1964, when the U.S.-backed military deposed President Joao Goulart and launched two decades of oppressive military rule.