Brazilians stage nationwide protests against President Bolsonaro's COVID response

Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 4,60,000 Brazilians

May 30, 2021 08:50 am | Updated 08:59 am IST - RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA

A demonstrator holds a banner reading "Bolsonaro virus out" during a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil on May 29, 2021.

A demonstrator holds a banner reading "Bolsonaro virus out" during a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia, Brazil on May 29, 2021.

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

Mr. Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 4,60,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines.

Organized by leftist political parties, unions and student associations, Saturday’s protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro were peaceful, but in the northeastern city of Recife, police threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets.

People attend a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, in front of the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil

People attend a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, in front of the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

In Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, thousands of mask-wearing people blocked one the largest city's avenues. One large balloon depicted Mr. Bolsonaro as a vampire.

Some protests, like the one in Rio, included images of former leftist president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva wearing the presidential sash.

Earlier in May, Lula met centrist Fernando Henrique Cardoso, also a two-term former president, for lunch in a public show of their common purpose to block Mr. Bolsonaro from gaining a second term in next year’s presidential election.

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