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Demand for Impeachment of President Bolsonaro Grows Stronger In Brazil

The Brazilian Presidential elections are exactly a year away, and President Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have taken a hit.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro pauses as he and his economy minister speak to the press as he leaves his presidential residence Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by AP/PTI)

Rio De Janeiro: With Brazil’s presidential election one year away, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and dozens of other cities around the country to protest President Jair Bolsonaro and call for his impeachment over his government’s handling of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Brazilian SC Approves Probe Against President Jair Bolsonaro Over Covaxin Deal

The protests, smaller than those in support of Bolsonaro last Sept. 7, were promoted by leftist parties and some union movements linked to the former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Worker´s Party. Da Silva is widely expected to run against Bolsonaro in Brazil’s Oct. 2, 2022 presidential election.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, calling for impeachment over his government handling the Covid-19 pandemic and accusation of corruption in the purchase of Covid-19 Vaccines in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Oct 2, 2021. (AP/PTI Image)

Saturday’s protest targeted the president for his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bolsonaro, who is not vaccinated and doesn’t usually wear a mask, has underestimated the severity of the virus and promoted crowds during the pandemic. Some 597,000 have died of Covid-19 in Brazil, a country of 212 million people. Demonstrators also protested surging inflation in mainstays like food and electricity.

ALSO READ: Brazil To Suspend Covaxin Covid-19 Vaccine Deal Over Allegations Of Irregularities

“It is very painful to see that health and education are being destroyed, and there are many starving people in the country,” Marilena Magnano, a 75-year-old retiree, told The Associated Press. “We need Bolsonaro out of the government, his time has passed”.

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, calling for impeachment over his government handling the Covid-19 pandemic and accusation of corruption in the purchase of Covid-19 Vaccines in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Oct 2, 2021. (AP/PTI Image)

The president’s approval ratings have steadily declined throughout the year, but he remains far more popular than prior presidents who were impeached – most recently Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party in 2016.

Over 130 impeachment requests have been filed since the start of Bolsonaro’s administration, but the lower house’s speaker, Arthur Lira, and his predecessor have declined to open proceedings. Division among the opposition is the key reason analysts consider it unlikely there will be enough pressure on Lira to open impeachment process.

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