Millions protest against gov’t in Brazil

Some 3.3 million people took to the streets Sunday in many parts of Brazil to protest against the government of President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazilians weary of corruption and concerned by an economic downturn marched in 257 cities across the country, carrying placards, banners or balloons that said: “Dilma Out, PT Out,” in reference to the president and ruling Workers’ Party.

Marchers uniformly dressed in yellow and green, the colors of Brazil’s flag, protested in at least 15 of the country’s 27 states, according to media reports.

Soundbite: IVAN GOMEZ, Retired state-oil company worker
“Brazil has a solution, and that solution is change. We are going to remove our country’s corrupt politicians, and in this way save the nation. Brazil is rich and great, and can benefit all of us who live here together in peace.”

The national day of protest was organized by the conservative political opposition and like-minded nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

In addition to demanding Rousseff step down, protesters demanded her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva be imprisoned on corruption charges.

In the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro, several thousand demonstrators gathered at the famed Copacabana Beach, carrying signs and Lula dolls dressed in striped prison uniforms.

The former president has been accused of accepting a beachside apartment and another property from a construction company that was contracted by Petrobras. He has denied the charges.

Soundbite: MARCELO ITAJIBA, protester
“I’m a Federal Police agent. I’m here to defend administrative and financial independence, so the Federal Police isn’t subjected to corrupt politicians; after all, it’s the police force of the state. On many occasions, several presidents were investigated by us.”

President Dilma Rousseff said on Saturday that the Government guarantees the right to peaceful demonstrations. “Everyone has the right to go to the streets” to demonstrate for or against the government, she said.

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