Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Brazil last Saturday to protest against the lethal pandemic policies of far right president Jair Bolsonaro.
There were protests in over 200 towns and cities, including the capital Brasilia where protesters marched to Brazil’s congress.
Bolsonaro has denied the severity of the virus over the past year, despite Brazil having the second highest Covid-19 infection rate in the world after the US.
More than 462,000 people have died due to the virus and only 10 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
In Rio de Janeiro crowds chanted “Bolsonaro genocide” and “Go away Bolsovirus”. Protesters carried signs that read, “Out with Bolsonaro” and “Impeachment now.”
And they broadened their demands to include more protection for indigenous people.
Protester Omar Silveira said, “We must stop this government. We must say enough is enough.
“Bolsonaro is a murderer. He has no feelings. He does not feel, as we do. He cannot perceive the disaster that he is causing.”
Polls suggest 57 percent of the population backs his impeachment.
In Pernambuco in the north east of the country, the police used pepper spray, gas bombs and rubber bullets to try and disperse crowds.
And at a protest in Sao Paulo nurse Patricia Ferreira said Bolsonaro was “worse than the virus”.
“We are exhausted, with our healthcare system on the verge of collapse. There is no solution to the pandemic with him in power,” she added.
Student Beatriz Fernanda Silva said she was at the protests to honour the memory of her uncle who died as a result of Bolsonaro’s handling of the virus. Beatriz said, “I came here to fight for the vaccine that he was unable to get and could have saved him.”
Anger at Bolsonaro follows major setbacks. The Brazilian senate has mounted an investigation into the government’s handling of the virus.
The senator leading the inquiry has alleged that Bolsonaro did not want to provide vaccines, but instead believed herd immunity would lead to cases falling.
A representative from pharmaceutical company Pfizer also spoke out and said Bolsonaro refused offers for months of vaccines by the company.
Bolsonaro was also recently fined for breaking health and safety restrictions at a public event.
The huge movement against the president came a week after Bolsonaro and his far right followers took part in a motorcade rally through the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
At the rally Bolsonaro advocated against further lockdowns. His supporters made calls for the Brazilian senate to be dismantled to limit political opposition.
More protests against the far right leader and his murderous policies have the power to break him.
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