By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to protest today throughout Brazil against corruption and the government of Dilma Rousseff. Protests have been scheduled for at least 500 cities, including major urban centers such as São Paulo, which according to military police gathered more than a million people during the last demonstrations, on March 15th.
Today’s protests are expected to bring even more people to the streets, and according to analysts there are growing risks of confrontation between groups supporting the Rousseff Administration and those against it.
“The anti-Rousseff groups expect to match or exceed the numbers at nationwide protests of March 15th that brought two million people to the streets. Despite the large size of the demonstrations, confrontation and violence has been avoided so far; however, this risk would increase if counterdemonstrations are called for,” warned the analysis made by Carlos Caicedo, senior principal analyst for Latin America at IHS Country Risk of the event.
Foreign visitors have also been warned by their respective governments about possible violence during the demonstrations. The government of the United Kingdom, through its website, warned its citizens visiting Brazil during this period to take precautions.
“Roads and public transport are likely to be disrupted. Take extra care and avoid all demonstrations. There have been violent incidents and injuries. Avoid demonstrations, monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities,” read the official statement.
The Rousseff government has faced a mounting discontentment by the population due to rampant corruption scandals and strict austerity measures implemented by the Administration’s economic team. President Rousseff’s popularity rates have plummeted to the low teens in just three months into the President’s second term. Even social groups traditionally supportive of the PT government (MST, Unions) have strongly criticized this administration for withdrawing subsidies and doing away with some workers’ rights.