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Brazilians Stage Massive Anti-Rousseff Protests

  • VOA News

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across Brazil Sunday, calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff because of a corruption scandal, as well as the country's sputtering economy and rising inflation.

Much of the public anger toward Rousseff stems from revelations of a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, which prosecutors call the biggest corruption scheme ever uncovered in Brazil. At least $800 million was paid in bribes and other funds by the nation's biggest construction and engineering firms in exchange for inflated Petrobras contracts.

Dozens of political figures, including close allies of the president, and former Petrobras executives are under investigation. Some of the alleged wrongdoing took place while Rousseff was chairman of the Petrobras board. She is not being investigated.

Adding to Rousseff's woes is the country's ailing economy. Brazil once enjoyed one of South America's most robust economies, but it is now sliding into recession.

Sunday's protests were the third staging of nationwide anti-Rousseff demonstrations.

"The government sees these demonstrations as part of normal democracy," said Edinho Silva, the president's spokesman.

The president's ever expanding political crisis comes as Brazil is preparing for next year's Summer Olympics.

Less than a year into her second term, the once popular president garnered only single digit support in recent public opinion polls.