Brazilians take to streets against corruption

Demonstrators were furious at a vote earlier this week by the lower house of Congress -- where many deputies are themselves suspects in criminal probes -- to weaken a long-planned anti-corruption bill and to undermine the authority of prosecutors.

Brazilians take to streets against corruption

World Bulletin / News Desk

Brazilians took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and other cities Sunday to defend a huge anti-corruption probe against what they said were attempts by the scandal-plagued Congress to shut it down.

Hundreds of people began streaming to Copacabana for the first of what organizers said would be nationwide demonstrations in support of Operation Car Wash, a probe that has uncovered mass embezzlement by politicians and top executives at state oil company Petrobras and other businesses.

"Car Wash -- protected by the people," read one placard carried by a man wrapped in the green and yellow Brazilian flag.

The next day prosecutors from the Car Wash case threatened to resign, calling the vote, which took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning while most Brazilians slept, a direct attack.

The uproar was only the latest twist in a series of scandals shaking allies of President Michel Temer who came to power in August after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, promising to put recession-battered Brazil back on track.

Several of Temer's cabinet ministers have resigned in the face of corruption allegations and this week the Supreme Court ruled that one of Temer's key political partners, Senate President Renan Calheiros, must stand trial on corruption charges.

Protesters were also taking to the streets in the capital Brasilia, the country's commercial powerhouse Sao Paulo, and some 200 other cities, organizers promised.

In Rio, early arrivals said that the desire to fight corruption was uniting Brazilians who have been bitterly divided all this year over the Rousseff impeachment, which her leftwing supporters saw as a coup mounted by Temer and his center-right PMDB party.

"It's the first time where the people are really rallying together. We hope that today all the factions and ideological divisions will join," said university teacher Sergio Giacomo, 50.

"Here you will find builders, bus drivers, teachers -- not just the well-off. We're workers who are fed up with the institutionalization of corruption in our country," said his fellow protester Joana Darc, 51, also a university professor who had come from one of Rio's gritty suburbs to the well-to-do Copacabana shoreline.

"We want a Brazil that has been cleaned of corruption and where the law is applied," she said. "We're angry because of the lack of respect shown by the Brazilian Congress to the people."

Last Mod: 04 Aralık 2016, 17:10
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