Rio de Janeiro (AFP)
Tens of thousands of people in Brazil staged another day of protest against President Jair Bolsonaro, especially for his chaotic handling of the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 460,000 lives here.
In downtown Rio de Janeiro, some 10,000 people wearing masks marched through the streets, some chanting “Bolsonaro Genocide” or “Go away Bolsovirus”.
Similar rallies have taken place in other major cities, the latest in a wave of anger against Bolsonaro that began months ago. After the United States, Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world.
At the start of the pandemic, far-right Bolsonaro called Covid-19 a ‘little flu’ and, as the death toll kept rising, he continued to infuriate people in other ways, s’ opposing home care measures and masks, touting ineffective drugs, refusing vaccine offers and failing to anticipate oxygen shortages that have left patients suffocating.
One of the themes of Saturday’s rally was the number of lives that could have been saved had the Bolsonaro government launched Brazil’s vaccination campaign earlier. The reader walks slowly and has often stammered for lack of supplies.
“We have to stop this government. We have to say ‘enough is enough’, ”businessman Omar Silveira told AFP at the Rio rally.
Of Bolsonaro he said: “He’s a murderer, a psychopath. He has no feeling. He doesn’t feel like we do. He cannot perceive the disaster he is causing. “
Protesters also assaulted Bolsonaro for allowing Amazon deforestation and land grabs from indigenous peoples, and said he was racist.
Gatherings were held on Saturday in other major cities such as the capital Brasilia, Salvador in the northeast and Belo Horizonte in the southeast.
Brasilia saw its largest rally since the start of the pandemic as people marched outside Congress, where a Senate committee is investigating Bolsonaro’s handling of the health crisis.
# photo1On the past two weekends, Bolsonaro supporters have staged protests in his favor – and at his behest – as his approval rating plummeted to an all-time high of 24%.
© 2021 AFP