By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Wearing yellow and green, the color of Brazil’s flag, millions of Brazilians took to the streets on Sunday to protest corruption and demand President Rousseff step down. According to officials more than 3.6 million people attended the demonstrations in more than 300 cities throughout the country. For organizers the number of protesters surpassed the six million mark.
From the Northeast to the South, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to voice their discontentment with the country’s political scenario, in what is being called the largest countrywide demonstration of all times. According to the official police headcount, the demonstrations on Sunday gathered a record number of people, surpassing even the crowds that called for free elections (Diretas Já), back in 1984.
São Paulo’s iconic Avenida Paulista received more than 1.4 million protesters, according to police. Many in the sea of people carried signs of “Out PT”, “Out Dilma” while others held up inflated dolls depicting former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and current president Dilma Rousseff in convict clothes.
“I came out here to protest against the corruption that has taken over our government,” said sales assistant Edivaldo Silva, 31. Silva, along with his girlfriend, wore a mask of Judge Sergio Moro, seen by many here as the main crusader in the fight against corruption.
“We know that there is also corruption in other (political) parties but the PT promised to be different, but turned out to be just the same as the others (parties),” said the protester, adding, “We want everyone to be investigated and the corrupt to go to jail.”
Silva, like many others across the country protested against the widespread corruption in all spheres and areas of the government. Demonstrators on Sunday declared they were not against a single political party but in favor of the country as a whole.
This feeling was made crystal clear when opposition leader, Senator Aecio Neves, and PSDB governor, Geraldo Alckmin, arrived at the rally. Both politicians tried to say a few words to the crowd, but were quickly dissuaded by the loud booing and hissing of protesters.
In Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, some of the close to one million protesters, calling for the impeachment of President Rousseff, carried an enormous green and yellow banner. There were no confrontations between the anti-Rousseff, anti-PT crowd and Workers’ Party (PT) supporters, with the only opposing voice being a lone single-engine plane flying over the water with a banner that stated: “There will be no coup”.
In Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, the demonstration against corruption and for the impeachment of President Rousseff mobilized 100 thousand, according to police. The crowd assembled at the Mall of Ministries and ended with protesters singing the Brazilian anthem.
Other cities, such as Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Salvador and Porto Alegre, registered record number of demonstrators during Sunday’s protests. According to police no major incidences were reported and all demonstrations occurred in a peaceful and orderly fashion.