By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In Rio de Janeiro around 15,000 people protested against the government of President Dilma Rousseff and the recent money laundering scandal on Copacabana beach. The peaceful protest took up both lanes of the beach road Avenida Atlântica and was later in the day continued in Rio’s Centro.
The protest organized by internet movements such as “Vem pra rua” (Come to the street) was held under the slogan “impeachment já” (impeachment now) and was mainly directed against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
According to the Military Police, which also accompanied the protest, around 15,000 people participated. However, these numbers were preliminary estimates and no official numbers have been released. According to Vem pra rua, around 100,000 took part in the demonstration.
The march that had started at 9:30 AM at Copacabana’s Posto 5, remained peaceful and cheerful. Many families and elderly citizens were among the participants and many showed up dressed in the Brazilian colors yellow and green, as participants converted football (soccer) chants such as “O campeão voltou” (the champion is back) to “O PT robou” (the Worker’s Party stole).
Also among the slogans were declarations like “I came for free” based on claims that participants of the pro-government protest from last Friday had been paid R$35 to partake, and shouts against former PT President Lula, which so far had remained remarkably untouched by former protests.
A small number of protesters went as far as asking for a military intervention against the government on their placards, citing that people were better off during the dictatorship. However, the main reasoning for most participants remained the impeachment of the president and the declaration against the Worker’s Party PT.
“I am here to represent the discontent of the people. The discontent with this government, which has been in office for a short time, but prices are getting higher every day. (…) I want the impeachment of the president and I believe it will happen,” Ellen, who didn’t want to be named further, explained her participation in the protest to The Rio Times.
When asked about the legal reason for impeachment, she stated: “We don’t need a legal reason. We, the people, are discontent with this government. That is reason enough.”
Later in the day the protest continued in Rio’s Centro in front of the Candelaria church with hundreds of participants. The demonstrators blocked main street Avenida Presidente Vargas, but the act remained peaceful as well.