RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Hundreds of peaceful protesters marched Sunday on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach to demand the ouster of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, a reminder of the political upheaval that has convulsed Brazil in the run-up to the Olympics.
Five days before the Games open, both anti- and pro-Rousseff rallies were held in at least 10 other states, most drawing relatively small crowds, as she faces an impeachment process that is likely to permanently remove her from power within weeks.
Those who rallied in Rio, some with Brazil’s flag draped over their shoulders and nearly all wearing the national colors of yellow and green, chanted “Out Dilma! Out corruption!”
Those same messages were written in English on banners for the foreign tourists to see as they flocked to the crescent-shaped Copacabana beach. Some 500,000 people are expected to visit Rio to attend South America’s first Olympics between Aug. 5 and 21.
“This is a warm-up party, you might say, for us to keep the pressure on the Senate … to show that the Brazilian people will not accept Dilma Rousseff remaining in power,” said Carlos Carvalho, one of the organizers of the Rio protest.
There were also some protests across Brazil against interim President Michel Temer, according to Globo TV. He has recognized that he will likely be booed when he goes to the Games’ opening on Friday, while Rousseff has said she will not attend.
None of the rallies were nearly as big as those seen in recent years, when hundreds of thousands took to streets in anti-corruption and anti-government protests.
Rousseff is facing an impeachment trial for allegedly breaking budgetary laws, by borrowing billions from state banks to cover budget gaps without informing Congress.
It is widely expected the Senate will vote to permanently oust her in late August or early September, which would put Temer, her former vice president, in the presidency until the 2018 elections.
(Reporting by Sergio Queiroz; Writing by Brad Brooks; Editing by Mary Milliken)