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By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, June 24th, over four thousand gathered in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone) to protest against proposed constitutional amendment PEC 37, a measure that if passed would limit prosecutorial power to investigate government corruption.

Protesters marched through Zona Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Protesters marched through Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone) in a peaceful demonstration, photo by Luiza Maris Ramos.

Protesters began to assemble around mid-afternoon near Copacabana’s Posto 4 (Posto 4). There, the famous statue of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade was draped in a Brazilian flag for the occasion and also wore a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol appropriated by members of the ongoing protest movement.

Demonstrators took pictures with the statue as the group formed. Zona Sul residents, judiciary employees, prosecutors and visitors to the city were present.

“We came to participate in the protest because they told us that it is a legitimate movement against corruption in Brazil,” French tourists Alice Fabri and Sarah de Brito told G1 when asked why they were in attendance.

Prosecutor and one of the organizers of the protest, Luciano Mattos, told O Globo that he has been against the PEC 37 for a while now. “I’ve supported the movement against PEC 37 since the end of last year, and enjoyed the demonstrations to protest in the streets. This is a move that will be repeated at other times.”

At 4PM, the group began to make its way down from Avenida Atlântica towards Leblon, with a reported following of approximately fifteen hundred. By the time the demonstrators reached Avenida Vieira Souto and Ipanema over an hour later, the crowd had swelled to four thousand.

Some protesters felt the Presidential speech by Dilma Rousseff which was televised on Friday, June 21st, did not provide the answers required. “The R$0.20 was the last straw. I’m here because I’m against taking the power to investigate from the MP, if not for the MP there would not be many mensaleiros [members involved in 2012’s Mensalão scandal] investigated, ” a participant named Cláudia, who withheld her last name, told G1.

Lieutenant Colonel Cláudio Costa, commander of the 19th Battalion (Copacabana) stated at that time that the “the demonstration is peaceful and democratic, as we have expected.”

The entire demonstration was patrolled by over three hundred officers with six MPs stationed every two hundred meters and a BOPE car accompanying the procession. Only two arrests, not connected to the protest itself, were made.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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