By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Chamber of Deputies representatives in Brazil started to debate on Friday morning whether or not to impeach the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, for the mismanagement of public funds. The debate is expected to last until Sunday afternoon, when the full House is expected to vote whether or not to accept the charges against the President.
The debate at the Chamber started hours after the country’s Supreme Court denied an injunction made by the government to annul impeachment proceedings. The injunction was seen by analysts as the last attempt by the government to suspend impeachment proceedings, since there is a very high probability that the country’s Lower House will vote to approve the misconduct charges and send the process to the Senate for the final decision.
According to polls taken by three of Brazil’s main dailies, opposition parties already have more than the 342 votes needed to approve the impeachment of President Rousseff. President Rousseff has been accused of using loans from state-owned banks to mask huge federal deficits, without including the loan in the government’s accounting records.
Security measures have already started to be deployed around Brazil’s Congress, with officials expecting crowds to start gathering late Friday and into Saturday. All roads within the main Ministries Mall have been closed off to traffic until Monday, and government employees have been told to enter through the back entrance of the Ministries buildings.
A one-kilometer metal barrier has been set up just beyond the Congress’ lawn to separate pro and anti-impeachment crowds. Security forces will be placed in an 80 meter ‘no-man’s land’ separating the two groups. Government officials have told journalists that they expect more than 300,000 protesters to converge in Brasilia for this weekend’s rallies.
“We are aware of the importance of this historic moment and we are working to provide the necessary conditions for people to exercise their right to demonstrate without endangering the lives of citizens,” Brasilia’s Public Security Secretary, Marcia de Alencar, was quoted as saying by Globo earlier this week.
Pro and anti-impeachment rallies are also scheduled for major cities throughout Brazil, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte on Sunday.