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Brazil exceeds 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 and massive protests against Jair Bolsonaro break out

2021-06-24T17:41:05.882Z

Massive demonstrations were held in at least 22 states to criticize Bolsonaro and honor the victims. "The country was exemplary in vaccination for the world," lamented a student in Rio de Janeiro.



Protesters against the government of Jair Bolsonaro took to the streets in more than 20 cities in Brazil this Saturday after

the death toll confirmed by COVID-19 in the country soared to more than half a million,

a tragedy that many critics attribute to Bolsonaro's attempts to minimize the disease.

Thousands of people gathered in the center of Rio de Janeiro waving flags with slogans such as "Out, Bolsonaro: the Government of hunger and unemployment."

“Brazil is experiencing a big setback right now.

The country was exemplary in vaccination for the world.

We have widely recognized institutions, but today we are in a sad situation, ”said Isabela Gouljor, a 20-year-old student who joined the protest in Rio.

[Follow our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic]

Other protesters raised signs that read: "500,000 dead: it's their fault," alluding to Bolsonaro.

Cacerolazos in Brazil for the management of the pandemic by the Bolsonaro Government

June 3, 202100: 23

Similar marches occurred in at least 22 Brazilian states, as well as in the Federal District, Brasilia.

They were promoted by left-wing opposition parties that have been encouraged by

the declines in approval of Bolsonaro in the polls, now that next year's presidential race looms.

"Get out Bolsonaro, genocidal," the Rio de Janeiro protesters shouted, some of them wearing T-shirts or masks with the image of former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is above Bolsonaro in some polls.

In São Paulo, several protesters also

threw red balloons in tribute to the victims of the virus.

[Brazil and Mexico top the list: more than 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in Latin America]

Bolsonaro supporters, on the other hand, have taken to the streets with increasing frequency in the past month, in part because they agree with

his dismissal of restrictions aimed at stopping the coronavirus

and out of anger that the quarantines have harmed businesses.

Critics say those messages, as well as Bolsonaro promoting disproved treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, have contributed to the increase in the death toll and a slow vaccination campaign that

has inoculated less than 12% of the population.

The country of about 213 million people is recording nearly 100,000 new infections and 2,000 deaths a day.

Two protesters protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manaus, Brazil, on June 19, 2021. Michael Dantas / AFP via Getty Images

"For leftists,

taking their supporters out onto the streets is a way of wearing Bolsonaro down for the elections,"

said Leandro Consentino, a political science professor at Insper, a São Paulo university.

"But at the same time they contradict themselves and lose that discourse of maintaining health, because they

are causing the same agglomerations as Bolsonaro."

Saturday's marches occurred a week after

Bolsonaro led his supporters in a massive motorcycle parade in São Paulo,

although his supporters and critics differ dramatically on the size of that event.

"Bolsonaro needs to show that he maintains significant support to send a message of strength to those who are investigating the actions of his government in Congress," said Consentino.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2021-06-24

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