- The police had a hard time controlling the two rival groups.
- Bolsonaro’s supporters argued that the Supreme Court and the Congress are out to frustrate his powers.
- The national tally stands at 1.09 million confirmed cases and 50,659 deaths.
Brazilians have taken to the streets as deaths from coronavirus in the country pass 50,000. The anti-government protesters called for President Jair Bolsonaro’s impeachment denouncing the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. A small counter rally by the president’s supporters was held in Brasilia, the country’s capital.
Bolsonaro’s supporters argued that the Supreme Court and the Congress are out to frustrate his powers. The police had a hard time controlling the two rival groups, his supporters and anti-government demonstrators, as they marched outside Congress and the Supreme Court. Other protests took place in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The political unrest comes at a time when two of the president’s allies are being investigated, a move critics have said very crucial to the president. The president is also being investigated for allegedly trying to interfere with the police for political motives, something he denies. Critics have said that the president’s image will be severely damaged at a time when he has been globally condemned for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The president is already very weak and this will weaken him further,” said Cristiano Rodrigues, a political scientist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais State. “The contrast between Bolsonaro’s words and his practices will be educational for voters,” he added. “Bolsonaro’s credibility, popularity and his ability to govern will be severely diminished.”
Brazil, the country second-worst hit by the coronavirus, has surpassed the one million case mark amid political tensions and an ailing economy. The national tally stands at 1.09 million confirmed cases and 50,659 deaths. However, the experts say that the actual number of both cases and deaths could be more than three times higher.
The country has not done a lot to flatten the curve. President Jair Bolsonaro, on his part, has always argued that the pandemic has greatly affected the country, as he said its side effect being were becoming more harmful than the disease in terms of the economy and unemployment due to the lockdowns.
Bolsanaro has also participated in a number of anti-lockdown protests. In one of them, he posted a video on his Facebook account where he did not wear a mask and was seen shaking hands and waving at the crowd. The president has always been against the quarantine and stay at home measures, and has dismissed the fact that social distancing could flatten the curve.
President Bolsonaro has done little to fight the virus and has compared it to “little flu.” He said that Brazilians were immune to the virus, and because they had already been infected, they had antibodies that could fight the virus. Despite this, the numbers of infections continue to rise.
The country confirmed its first case on February 26.The pandemic has been widely politicized in the country, and the president has, on several occasions, clashed with a number mayors and governors on lockdown measures.
For instance, Joao Doria, the governor of Sao Paulo, the largest state in the country, has openly criticized the president’s handling of the coronavirus. Doria is a friend turned enemy of the president, who sees him as apolitical rival.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the country has lost two Health Ministers. One of the former ministers, Nicholas Tiech, resigned after less than a month in office. He became the second minister to leave office in less than a month.
The news of Teich’s resignation was received with mixed reactions from leaders and health experts. For instance, governors who have opposed Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic said the minister’s departure signified the president’s failure to manage the pandemic.
Tiech took over office after Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired on April 26. The president had criticized him publicly for urging people to observe social distance and to stay at home. Mandetta, a popular minister, had criticized the president for downplaying the virus.