A new wave of protests has spread throughout Brazil as tens of thousands take to the streets in at least 13 state capitals over accusations of government corruption and a rising Covid-19 death toll.
On July 3, protestors took to the streets demanding the impeachment of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the government’s handling of the pandemic. Bolsonaro has faced criticism for not establishing a coordinated national response to the pandemic and for his vocal scepticism of the effectiveness of masks, lockdowns, and vaccines. Currently, only 11% of the adult population are vaccinated, with the health institute Fiocruz describing the situation as “critical.” Last month, Brazil’s Covid-19 deaths surpassed half a million, second only to America. In recent weeks, many recreational facilities including restaurants and bars, opened across the country although few people wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines.
The day prior, July 2, Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber approved the request by the prosecutor general to investigate alleged corruption in the purchasing of vaccines produced in India. A whistle-blower has accused the president of failing to act when warned 3 months ago of senior officials accepting bribes to buy overpriced Covaxin vaccines produced in India. Bolsonaro has denied the accusations, claiming the opposition has fabricated the claims in order to open impeachment proceedings against him.
The protests were initially scheduled for July 24 but were brought forward in light of the corruption accusations. Protests were planned in 315 cities across Brazil, including Brazil’s biggest city Sao Paulo.