By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Supporters of Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, took to the streets on Sunday to demand the approval of government proposals in Congress. President Bolsonaro celebrated the demonstrations’ peaceful atmosphere on social media.
“I believe that Brazil is moving more and more towards the maturing of its democracy, with representatives who are sensitive to the aspirations of society,” said Bolsonaro on his Twitter account. “The peaceful character of today’s actions translates the hope and confidence of the people for the commitment that we politicians have to the future of the country,” concluded the President.
No significant violence was reported in any of the cities which held the marches.
Although the organizers had estimated marches in over 300 cities, the major news outlet in Brazil reported rallies in 150 to 180 cities throughout the country.
Among the proposals awaiting Congressional approval are Economy Minister Paulo Guedes’ social security reform and Justice and Public Security Minister Sergio Moro’s anti-crime bill.
Demonstrators also declared their support for Operação Lava Jato (Car Wash) and called for the installation of a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) to look into the country’s Supreme Court, known as Lava Toga (Court Robe Wash).
In many cities, protesters held signs criticizing the Supreme Court and the country’s Congress. There were even some calling for the return of the monarchy.
One of the largest rallies occurred in São Paulo’s iconic Avenida Paulista, where almost 500,000 people took to the streets. Many of the organizers along the avenue had yellow and green floats , and speeches in support of the government were given during most of the afternoon.
In Rio de Janeiro, the beach avenue in Copacabana was closed, with thousands of people calling for the approval by Congress of the government’s proposals.
President Bolsonaro, who was in Rio this weekend for his son’s wedding, told journalists that the marches on Sunday were not to defend him specifically, but rather to defend the country.
“Today, by coincidence, is a day when people are going to the streets not to defend the president, a politician or whoever. The population is going to defend the future of this nation,” Bolsonaro said.