Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the removal of Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s far-right president whose popularity has slumped in recent weeks amid corruption scandals in the context of the pandemic.
This week, it emerged that Brazil’s Defense Ministry told congressional leaders that next year’s elections would not take place without amending the country’s electronic voting system to include a paper trail of every vote.
Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that the Brazilian government has denied.
Bolsonaro faces reelection next year, in a race in which he will likely face his political enemy, former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Currently, polls show Bolsonaro losing to Lula.
Saturday’s protests were at least the second time this month that Brazilians took to the streets in various cities to oppose Bolsonaro.
“I am here because it is time to react to the genocidal government that we have, which has taken over our country,” said Marcos Kirst, a protester in São Paulo.
More than 500,000 Brazilians have died of Covid-19 under Bolsonaro’s leadership. He has been widely criticized for dismissing the severity of the disease and opposing masks and social distancing measures.
Bolsonaro is now under investigation in the Senate, which is investigating the possibility of corruption related to the purchase of an Indian coronavirus vaccine.
On São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue, the traditional place for political protests, more than 1,000 people gathered starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Bolsonaro was in Brasilia, the capital, on Saturday and went out for a motorcycle ride while greeting his followers.