Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Brazil, some calling for the permanent ouster of suspended President Dilma Rousseff and others demanding her return to office.
Rousseff was impeached and suspended in May for allegedly violating budget laws. A Senate trial on permanently removing her is expected in late August.
A few hundred people gathered on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach Sunday to push for Rousseff’s permanent removal. It’s one of 11 states to see anti-Rousseff protests.
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. Some 500,000 people are expected to visit Rio to attend South America’s first Olympics between August 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.
Meanwhile, demonstrators in four states were denouncing interim president Michel Temer. 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.
Rousseff’s allies also promise protests on Friday as the Olympic Games open.
Some analysts said the protest against Rousseff is a way for the people to send a message to Brazil’s senate. If 54 out of 81 senators voted against her, Rousseff will be permanently removed and interim president Temer could stay on the job until the end of her term in 2018. But Protests in Brazil were not only about who gets to keep the presidency until 2018.
Last Wednesday, members of Amnesty International protested outside the Summer Games headquarters in Rio de Janeiro against the killings committed by the police around the time of big sporting events in the city. According to organizers, police killed more than 40 people during May 2016 in the Olympic city alone.
With more than 85 thousand security force members in Rio, Amnesty International officials are worried that the violence and killings could increase.
“In the years that mega sportive events take place there is an important increase in the number of people killed by the police in the city of Rio and the state of Rio,” Renata Neder, Human Rights adviser for Amnesty International Brazil, said.