Brazilians stage nationwide protests against President Bolsonaro’s COVID response

Brazilians staged protests on Saturday against President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in at least 16 cities across the country, carrying signs such as “Out with Bolsonaro” and “Impeachment now”.

Bolsonaro’s popularity plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 460,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader downplayed its severity, rejected masks and questioned the importance of vaccines.

Organized by left-wing political parties, unions and student associations, Saturday’s protests in the capital Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro were peaceful, but in the northeast city of Recife, police fired tear gas and fired rubber bullets.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 29, 2021. REUTERS / Ueslei Marcelino

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In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, thousands of people wearing masks blocked one of the city’s largest avenues. A large balloon represented Bolsonaro as a vampire.

Some protests, like the one in Rio, included images of former left-wing president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva wearing the presidential belt.

Earlier in May, Lula met with centrist Fernando Henrique Cardoso, also a former two-term president, for lunch on a public broadcast of their common goal of preventing Bolsonaro from winning a second term in the presidential election of the next year. Read more

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