Brazilians demand ‘Bolsonaro out’ over vaccine scandals, Covid handling

Brasilia, Jun 3 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets Saturday to demand the dismissal of President Jair Bolsonaro amid vaccine scandals and over his handling of Covid-19, which has killed more than 520,000 people in the country.

The demonstrations took place peacefully and occupied the streets of cities right across the country with their main slogan “Bolsonaro out,” and in recent days has united progressive parties and conservative groups, which have swelled opposition to the leader’s extreme right.

The growing suspicions of corruption in the purchasing of vaccines, which a Supreme Court justice on Friday authorized a criminal investigation into, and Bolsonaro’s denial of a pandemic that has already killed more than 520,000 Brazilians, led the opposition from both the left and right to make official before the Chamber of Deputies a request for the removal of the president.

The largest demonstrations occurred in Sao Paulo, the most populated city in the country and hardest hit by the pandemic, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Belo Horizonte and also in Brasilia, where the protest was concentrated in front of the Congress headquarters, to reinforce pressure for Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

On Friday, the Supreme Court judge ordered an investigation into whether the leader failed to act when alerted to suspected high-level corruption in the procurement of vaccines from Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech.

Meanwhile, this week a man claiming to be a medical company representative said he tried sell the government 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but ended the offer when a director at the Ministry of Health asked for commission equal to $1 per dose.

AstraZeneca has said it does not use intermediaries to sell vaccines to governments, and the official accused of bribery was dismissed, but the complaint could be added to the investigations into the purchasing of vaccines, which until the beginning of this year the government refused to acquire.

Demonstrations against Bolsonaro have grown in recent weeks, while the image of the president has been punctured by the vaccine sagas and the Senate investigation into the responsibility of the government in the lack of control of the pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Ipec institute, disapproval of the government went from 39 percent in February to the current 50 percent.

The same poll showed more than worrying data for the future of Bolsonaro, who aspires to renew his mandate in the October 2022 election.

According to Ipec, if the election was held today, the progressive ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would win in the first round with 49 percent, compared to 26 percent for Bolsonaro. EFE


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