By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against the possible impeachment of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff flocked to the streets of many Brazilian cities Thursday, showing that President Rousseff and the PT party still have support, despite unfavorable opinion polls.
In all locations banners supporting President Rousseff and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were seen alongside posters with the logo “Não vai ter golpe” (there will be no coup). According to organizers more than 800,000 participated in more than 75 cities throughout the country. Police data shows number at 154,000.
The largest rally occurred in Brasília where according to police nearly 50,000 people from all parts of the country gathered to support the government, democracy and say no to what they dub an attempt of a ‘coup’ by the opposition. According to rally organizers almost one thousand busses from all over the country descended upon the capital on Thursday morning. Demonstrators however were disappointed with the absence of former president Lula, who had confirmed his presence at the rally.
In Rio de Janeiro a stage was set in Largo da Carioca with artists and musicians giving speeches and singing songs. “I came here to embrace the people of various tribes and of different political beliefs. People who voted for the PT, people who do not like the PT, people who once were affiliated with the PT and who became disillusioned with the party, people who voted for Dilma, but above all, people who do not cast doubts on the integrity of President Dilma Rousseff,” said acclaimed musician and well-known PT party supporter Chico Buarque.
In São Paulo the meeting point was in front of the city’s cathedral, with demonstrators carrying giant red balloons and banners supporting democracy. According to police more than 40,000 people attended the pro-government rally.
Although the majority of those attending the rallies were members or supporters of the PT Party, some people interviewed by local media emphasized that they did not support the current government and its policies, but that the current impeachment proceedings had not legal standing.