Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians are gearing up to march in Sundayâ€™s anti-government protests, which could tip the balance against President Dilma Rousseff in her struggle to remain in office.
As of Friday evening, more than 360,000 people had signed up on a Facebook page pledging to take part in opposition marches, a 20 percent increase from Thursday morning. Protests are scheduled for hundreds of cities throughout Brazil with smaller demonstrations planned for more than a dozen countries, including the US, France and Australia.
Many Brazilians say they have had enough after enduring the worst recession in decades and a corruption scandal involving politicians and business executives known as Lava Jato, or Carwash in English. The outburst of public sentiment will be decisive for legislators debating whether to remain loyal to the president or join a swelling opposition seeking her impeachment, said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
â€œIf the protests are massive, they will increase pressure on the government and make impeachment more likely,â€ he said.
But itâ€™s not just critics of the government who are taking to the streets, as supporters of Rousseffâ€™s Workersâ€™ Party, known at the PT, also are planning demonstrations this month against the impeachment process. They also will show support for party co-founder and Rousseffâ€™s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
While a weak turnout may reduce the impetus for impeachment in Congress, itâ€™s unlikely to put an end to Rousseffâ€™s political troubles. The countryâ€™s top electoral court is investigating whether she illegally funded her re-election campaign in 2014, and magazine IstoE this month reported allegations that she tried to interfere with Carwash investigations.
She has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.Rousseffâ€™s supporters in Congress in recent days have been advocating a prompt vote on impeachment, with her deputy leader in the lower house, Silvio Costa, saying they still have enough votes to defeat the measure.