By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Although much smaller than in earlier rallies, Brazilians in more than twenty states went to the streets on Sunday to protest against or support suspended Dilma Rousseff. Protesters took time off from the Olympic fever sweeping parts of the country to focus on the on-going impeachment process occurring in the Brazilian Senate.
Less than a week before the start of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, tourists in Copacabana beach were caught off guard by the hundreds of demonstrators who filled the boardwalk, calling for an end to corruption. Dressed in yellow and green, some protesters sought foreign support, carrying signs written in English and calling for the impeachment of Rousseff and praising the Lava Jato investigations.
In São Paulo pro-impeachment protesters swarmed one of the city’s landmarks, Avenida Paulista, while Rousseff supporters rallied in the other side of the city. Although authorities would not release an official tally of the number of demonstrators, it did announce it had placed more than one thousand police officers at the pro-impeachment rally to guarantee the safety of protesters.
According to pro-Rousseff rally organizers more than 40,000 backers of the PT government came out to show their support and denounce the interim government of Michel Temer.
In Brazil’s capital, Brasilia approximately five thousand demonstrators gathered in the Ministry mall calling for Rousseff’s impeachment, according to the military police. In Salvador, Bahia, more than two thousand took to the streets to defend the return of the first woman president. In Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul the two opposing groups came very close to meeting on Sunday afternoon, but no major incidents were reported.
Last week Brazil’s Supreme Court scheduled the start of Rousseff’s impeachment trial in the Senate for August 29th. According to analysts the trial should last approximately one week, with the Senate plenary voting on whether or not Rousseff will be permanently removed from office occurring in the first half of September.