Brazilians protest anew


BRASÍLIA: Supporters of embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff were to hit the streets in ral-lies across the country Thursday aimed at pressuring Congress ahead of an impeachment vote.

Pro-government organizations and the leftist Workers’ Party called protests in 31 cities, with the main one in the capital Brasilia, headed by controversial former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula, who founded the ruling Workers’ Party and remains a heavyweight figure on the left, called for supporters to hit the streets on his Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Rousseff branded the attempt to bring her down as based on trumped-up charges and amounting to “a coup.”

She has been left dangerously isolated after the main coalition partner for her Workers’ Party, the PMDB, announced Tuesday that it was pulling out and would support impeachment.

Rousseff is also dealing with the deepest recession in a generation and fallout from a huge corrup-tion scandal at state oil company Petrobras that has snared a cross-section of the country’s elite — including Lula.

An Ibope poll showed approval for Rousseff’s government remains around record lows of 10 percent, while her personal approval rating was 14 percent.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern, telling O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper that “any political instability in Brazil is a reason for worry.”

Rousseff faces impeachment over allegedly illegal budgetary manipulations to cover the extent of Brazil’s recession during her re-election campaign in 2014.

The potentially lengthy process is under way in a preliminary commission and the lower house of Congress could vote as early as mid-April on whether to send the case to the Senate for full trial.

To impeach Rousseff, 342 out of 513 deputies, or two thirds, must vote in favor. If Rousseff managed to get more than 171 votes she would defeat the measure, but it could also fail through abstentions or deputies not attending.



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