Protests fall short of expectations in Brazil

Updated: 2015-08-17 16:25


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Protests fall short of expectations in Brazil

A demonstrator attends a protest against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, part of nationwide protests calling for her impeachment, at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo's financial centre, Brazil, August 16, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO - The major anti-government protests scheduled for Sunday in Brazil turned out to be of a lesser scale than organizers had expected, which may give President Dilma Rousseff and her Workers' Party some much needed breathing time.

The protests, which occurred in almost all Brazilian states, were expected to gather several million people to call for President Rousseff's impeachment and increase pressure on the federal administration.

However, participation was much lower than expectation, totaling 610,000, matching the figures registered in the April protest and not nearing the over 1.5 million people estimated at the largest organized protest in March.

The figures indicate that calls for Rousseff's impeachment may be dwindling though her approval rate is at an all-time low.

The opposition was not the only one to get to the streets on Sunday. Supporters of the current government marched in Sao Paulo, gathering in a small crowd in front of the Lula Institute, founded by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Rousseff's predecessor and political mentor.

Research institute Datafolha estimated a total of 135,000 protesters appeared in Sao Paulo, the largest opposition protest in the country, while organizers put the number at 1 million and local police said 350,000 people showed up.

Police estimated that 25,000 people protested in Brasilia, the country's capital city, and 20,000 in Rio. The protests were also extended abroad, with an estimated 120 people taking part in London and Paris together.

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