The growing discontent with the government of Jair Bolsonaro is expressed in the polls, but also in the streets of Brazil, in which this weekend opposition groups and unions demonstrated in different cities against his policies. One year after the elections, the far-right president shows a balance harshly criticized, especially for his management of the pandemic and for an economic deterioration of the country that presents an inflation of almost double digits.
Huge crowds marched through the streets of Brazil this Saturday in a sign of growing discontent against President Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right leader accused by the opposition of devastating the nation’s economy, environment and global standing.
This weekend’s protests, held in 160 cities, brought together left and center parties, unions and social movements, marking an attempt by the opposition to show unity. And the common motto that brought them all together was “Out with Bolsonaro,” a reference to the impeachment that various sectors want to promote due to the accusations and irregularities during his controversial administration.
Since the start of the Bolsonaro government in 2019, more than 130 impeachment requests have been filed, but key allies of the Conservatives in Congress have refused to carry out these attempts.
This president represents everything that is behind in the world: there is hunger, poverty, corruption and we are here to defend democracy
“Bolsonaro does not respect democracy or the Constitution. He does not want elections because he knows that he will be defeated if he is not removed sooner. It is time for us to make a broad front and join forces against fascism. We will talk about candidacies later,” he declared, in Rio de Janeiro, deputy Jandira Feghali, leader of the Brazilian Communist Party.
Bolsonaro and a notorious 65% rejection rate
But these protests were above all an illustration of the discontent of Brazilians towards their president. According to the latest polls, this has a rejection rate of 65%, as well as an intention to vote for 2022 that does not exceed 30%. The difficulties of the former Army captain are multiple and his government does not seem to have immediate solutions to recover from the drop in polls.
Among the main complaints is inflation, which exceeds 8% per year, and threatens purchasing power. In Rio de Janeiro, a group of protesters thus carried a huge inflatable gas cylinder with the inscription: “Is it expensive? Is it Bolsonaro’s fault.”
They also joined the protests against high unemployment, which affects more than 14 million people; against the anti-environmental rhetoric of the Government and against the increase in hunger.
“This president represents everything that is behind in the world: there is hunger, poverty, corruption and we are here to defend democracy”, summarized the protester Valdo Oliveira.
Rejection of the government’s denial in the face of the pandemic
Another demand that united the various sectors was the protest against the country’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic, which already leaves almost 600,000 deaths, only surpassed by the United States, and whose severity the Brazilian government still denies. Thus, throughout the protest, huge signs were seen calling the president “genocidal.”
And it is that Bolsonaro had promised that his response to the pandemic “without intervention” would protect the poor of Brazil. However, this population ended up being the most affected, with inequality exacerbated during his term.
“It is very painful to see that health and education are being destroyed and there are many hungry people in the country,” Marilena Magnano, a 75-year-old retiree, declared during the march. “We need Bolsonaro out of government. His time has passed,” he added.
And in relation to these complaints by Brazilians, the conclusion of a parliamentary investigation into their management of the pandemic is on the horizon, which may bring the president to justice for denialism and suspicions in the purchase of vaccines.
These protests, and it is not by chance, took place exactly one year before the next presidential elections, scheduled for October 2, 2022. The latest polls indicate that Bolsonaro would lose these presidential elections next year. It would be the socialist leader and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with 44% of the intention to vote, who would defeat Bolsonaro without the need for a second round (26%).
However, despite growing opposition, the current president retains a tough base. Thousands of people thus came to support him in the marches he called on September 7, coinciding with the Independence Day of Brazil.
With EFE, AFP, Reuters and local media