Brazilians stage nationwide protests over Bolsonaro’s Covid response

President’s popularity has plummeted during pandemic in which more than 460,000 have died

Demonstrators gather during a protest against the government’s Covid-19 response on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 29th, 2021.  Photograph: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg

Demonstrators gather during a protest against the government’s Covid-19 response on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 29th, 2021. Photograph: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg

 

Brazilians staged protests against President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in at least 16 cities across the country on Saturday,

Mr Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 460,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines.

Organised 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.

Marchers carried signs with slogans such as “Out with Bolsonaro” and “Impeachment now”.

In São 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. – Reuters