Will fall, will not fall? Saturday, May 29, in Rio, the meeting place given for the demonstration in opposition to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro does not seem to have been chosen at random. The gathering started in the shadow of the famous Balança Mas Não Cai building (“Pitching but not falling”): a gigantic concrete building, inaugurated in 1948, reputed to be unstable but which, in seven long decades, has not collapsed.
For the Brazilian left, the objective was indeed to mobilize en masse in order to finally bring down the irremovable head of state of the extreme right, whose popularity is in sharp decline, and of which a majority of Brazilians (57% , according to the PodeData institute) is now calling for dismissal. The bet is won: rallies took place in at least 200 cities, bringing together, depending on the locality, up to tens of thousands of demonstrators.
Also listen Brazil: the political duel behind the health crisis
Slogan? «Bolsonaro out! » (“Bolsonaro out!”). In Rio, at the call of the main left parties, the procession crossed the wide arteries and small alleys of the city center under the sun. For the occasion, we took out the red (left-wing unions), green (environmentalists), purple (feminists) or even black flags (in tribute to the 460,000 victims of Covid-19). At the call of the organizers, almost all the demonstrators came masked. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), some 10,000 people attended the rally.
On Vargas Avenue, Rodrigo paraded to the side, avoiding mixing with the bulk of the crowd. “I was a little apprehensive about coming in the midst of a pandemic”, recognizes this 34-year-old teacher, who did not finally give up, while 2,500 Brazilians still die every day as a result of Covid-19. “ We cannot stay at home with what is happening! The Bolsonaro government is more dangerous than the virus ”, he adds.
Lula, the champion of the demonstrators
Along the parade, the atmosphere is heavy. Many families of victims are there. “I refuse to become a statistic”, we read on a poster. Is it the fear? The tiredness ? Economic crisis ? In Rio as elsewhere, the gatherings attracted a lot of people without turning into a tidal wave. Partly the fault of leftist organizations, divided on the merits of a demonstration in the midst of an epidemic. Neither the popular union of the Single Central of Workers (CUT) nor the Landless Movement (MST) have officially called on their members to take to the streets.
You have 46.28% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.