Dilma Rousseff’s future as president of Brazil was cast into further doubt as millions of protesters, wearied by scandal and recession, staged some of the largest rallies in the country’s modern history.
Brazilians demonstrated peacefully for Rousseff’s ouster in cities throughout the country on Sunday, with some estimates counting more than 3 million people on the streets. Sao Paulo recorded its largest political rally on record, according to polling firm Datafolha. In the capital Brasilia, some 100,000 people marched toward Congress, expressing their support for the anti-corruption blitz that has put several high-profile executives and politicians behind bars.
Many Brazilians say they have had enough of corruption revealed by the two-year investigation known as Lava Jato, or Carwash in English, that has paralyzed Congress and deepened the worst recession in over a century. Sunday’s protests could prompt more legislators to abandon the ruling coalition and vote for Rousseff’s ouster, according to Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia.
After being stalled in Congress for months, the impeachment proceedings are expected to resume in coming days when the Supreme Court decides on guidelines for the lower house to follow.
Some allies have already begun to distance themselves from Rousseff, as her party gets drawn deeper into the corruption scandal. The March 12 national convention of her largest allied party, known as the PMDB, ended with the threat to fully break from the ruling coalition next month. Earlier in March, the smaller Brazilian Socialist Party joined the opposition.
Rousseff, who on Friday said she hadn’t given up and wouldn’t resign, made no public appearances on Sunday. Instead, she issued a statement in which she said that the peaceful nature of protests shows “the maturity of a country that knows how to live with diverging opinions.”
Brazil’s political drama is playing out less than five months before the 2016 Olympic Games are due to start in Rio de Janeiro.
Pressure on Rousseff started building in February with the arrest of her campaign strategist and a news report of allegations that she tried to interfere with corruption investigations. The political crisis hit a new high with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s brief detention for questioning on March 4.
Adding to Rousseff’s woes, the country’s top electoral court is investigating whether she illegally funded her re-election campaign in 2014.
Both Rousseff and Lula have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
With distrust of much of Brazil’s ruling class running deep and many leading politicians linked to the corruption scandal, a possible Rousseff exit could be messy. Some opposition leaders, including Senator Aecio Neves, who narrowly lost to Rousseff in the 2014 presidential election, were criticized during the demonstration as “opportunist.”
“We’re seeking a way out of this impasse in accordance with the constitution,” Neves wrote on Twitter.
It’s not just government critics taking to the streets. Supporters of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party held some small rallies on Sunday and plan demonstrations this month against the impeachment process. They also will show support for Lula, the party’s co-founder and Rousseff’s predecessor, who was charged last week with money laundering and providing false testimony.
One of the big winners coming out of Sunday’s protest was Sergio Moro, the federal judge from the southern state of Parana who’s overseeing the Carwash investigation, said Carlos Pio, a political scientist at the University of Brasilia.
Throughout the country, protesters hailed Moro as a national hero. Some wore t-shirts saying “In Moro We Trust” and others laid out a sign before Congress that read “We Are Moro.”
“The protests were a loud call from Brazilians: ‘Clean up our country,´” Pio said.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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