As many as 39 cities across Brazil have witnessed thousands-strong rallies in favor of President Dilma Rousseff and in response to the massive anti-government demonstrations earlier held across the country.
The rallies in support of Rousseff were held on Thursday, with tens of thousands taking to the streets only in the two cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
In the former city, participants chanted slogans and held up banners and flags backing Rousseff’s government and criticizing what they saw as an attempt to seize power by right-wing opposition leader Eduardo Cunha.
Several organizations took part in the march, including the Movement of Landless Peasants (MST) and the United Workers’ Central (CUT), which is the largest union in Latin America with 7.5 million members.
The Rio rally was attended by members of the same groups as well as participants from the National Union of Students (UNE).
“The division in Brazil has always been between oppressors and oppressed. What you see in Brazil is that an elite, a small group, always dominated Brazil, always excluded us, always exploited us, and do not accept the conquests of the working class,” said activist Michel Meins, who had joined the demonstration in the city.
The rallies came after hundreds of thousands of Rousseff’s opponents protested across the country on Sunday against what they called endemic corruption in the government. The demonstrations were the third major anti-Rousseff rally this year.
Rousseff was re-elected as the country’s president in October, but her administration’s reputation has since been badly hurt by a kickback scandal involving the ruling Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party), allegedly corrupt businessmen and the country’s giant state-run oil company Petrobras.