Brazil antigovernment protests

This item appears on page 16 of the May 2016 issue.

An estimated 3.5 million people in more than 300 cities joined peaceful antigovernment protests in Brazil on March 13. The protests specifically called for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and, for corruption, the arrest of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. 

Lula has been charged with money laundering in association with a scandal known as “Operation Car Wash,” in which politicians received kickbacks from construction companies in return for allowing them to overcharge the state-owned Petrobas oil company for construction projects. 

Rousseff (who was the chairman of Petrobas at the time of the scandal) has tried to name Lula to a cabinet position, which would make him immune from prosecution. Rousseff has also been accused of manipulating the nation’s account books in order to hide the growing deficit.

On March 29, members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the largest political party in Brazil’s ruling coalition, quit the government, opening the door to impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.