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Hundreds of Thousands Protest Corruption in Brazil

  • VOA News

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a protest against the government of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, in front of the Brazilian National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Thousands of demonstrators take part in a protest against the government of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, in front of the Brazilian National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets of cities across the country Sunday, demanding the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff over government corruption.

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. No one has been convicted yet, but 22 deputies, 13 senators and two governors have been implicated in the bribe-taking allegations. Some of the alleged wrongdoing took place while Rousseff was chairman of the Petrobras board. She is not being investigated.

In addition to the corruption scandal at Petrobras, Rousseff also is facing rising inflation and a Brazilian economy that is on the brink of recession.

Sunday's gatherings were mostly calm and festive, with little of the violence that tarnished a wave of massive demonstrations in 2013, when Brazilians protested spending to host the 2014 World Cup of soccer.

By late morning, thousands of residents, many dressed in the blue, green and yellow of Brazil's flag, crowded along Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beachfront, singing the national anthem and shouting "Dilma, Out!"

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