Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians have streamed out into the streets of cities throughout Brazil to demand the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff over government corruption and economic drift.
Sunday’s protests were second in less than a month and came as polls showed Rousseff entering the second month of her second term in office with historically low approval ratings.
The demonstrations were driven by a massive corruption scandal at the state-run oil company, Petrobras, as well as a spluttering economy, a rapidly depreciating currency and political infighting.
Police put turnout at 682,000 people who marched in 195 cities, while organisers gave a total estimate of 1.5 million – around half of them attending the largest gathering, in business center Sao Paulo.
“Anything is better than Dilma. Anything. We want anything but Dilma,” businessman Alvino Melo told Al Jazeera as he took part in the protest.
Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Sao Paulo, said a new survey reveals that 63 percent of Brazilians would like to see Rousseff impeached and removed from office.
“She will keep her mandate to the end. But it is very important for us to show that we’re not happy. We are not happy with the government,” said demonstrator Wilson Martins.
Turnout across the nation included about 25,000 in the capital Brasilia, although police put the overall figure at nearer 100,000, media conglomerate Globo reported on its website.
“We have come to show what is going on in Brazil – this government is doing nothing. The people must show their dissatisfaction,” Dianara Loubet, a 75-year-old yoga instructor, told the AFP news agency as marchers converged on the capital Brasilia, where some protesters hung a banner calling for the army to intervene.
Rio hosted two modest protests at the tourist magnet of Copacabana beach, where media put participants at about 10,000.
The protest movement has been organised, mostly via social media, by a motley assortment of groups. Most call for Rousseff’s impeachment, but they are joined by others with demands ranging from a military coup to looser gun control laws.
‘Not here to break records’
Many analysts say the movement could crumble if organisers fail to deliver crowds as big as last month’s.
Although Sunday’s numbers appeared modest, organisers said it was not the size of rallies that counts, but the message.
Public confidence in Brazil’s political class has slumped with the detention or questioning of dozens of legislators and officials, including the treasurer of the ruling Workers Party over an alleged multi-billion dollar kickback scheme at Petrobras.
Rousseff is herself not under investigation, despite her former ties to the company, but the widening probe has fingered a swath of her party colleagues and close allies.