Rio de Janeiro (AP) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s corona policy has been increasingly criticized as thousands of Brazilians again took to the streets this weekend against the government of the right-wing head of state.
At demonstrations across the country on Saturday, they called for impeachment proceedings against Bolsonaro, more vaccinations against the coronavirus and economic aid in the pandemic, as the news portal “G1” reported.
Protests broke out in at least 27 provincial capitals, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife and Salvador, as well as in the capital Brasília. After protests in January, May, June and early July, this was the fifth time people across the country took to the streets against Bolsonaro.
Unions and left-wing groups had called for the demonstrations. The banners read: «Bolsonaro – corrupt genocide. Impeachment now” and “We want vaccinations, he bribes. Down with Bolsonaro ». The demonstrations were largely peaceful. In So Paulo, however, there was a riot and protesters smashed the windows of shops.
The approval for Bolsonaro’s administration continues to fall. At the beginning of the month, 51 percent of those polled rejected the president’s policies in a survey by the datafolha polling station. That was the worst result since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
President Bolsonaro’s administration downplayed the pandemic from the start and braced itself against tough exit restrictions citing the economic fallout. Most recently, Bolsonaro also questioned the point of vaccination. Meanwhile, a parliamentary commission of inquiry is investigating Bolsonaro’s crisis management during the pandemic.
Brazil is one of the countries hardest hit by the corona pandemic. So far, nearly 20 million people have contracted the virus. On average, about 50,000 new infections are added every day. Nearly 550,000 patients have died in connection with Covid-19 – only the United States has more deaths.
More than 130 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Brazil since the start of the nationwide vaccination campaign in January. About 40 percent of adult Brazilians have received a single dose and about 17 percent have been fully vaccinated. However, due to the lack of vaccination doses, the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro and other major cities have recently withdrawn their first vaccinations against the coronavirus.
However, the criticism of the protesters on Saturday went beyond the corona crisis management. The protests were aimed, among other things, at the privatization of public services. People also demanded greater efforts to fight hunger and environmental degradation, as well as respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.