Brazil president warns on violence as new demos loom

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff warned Monday she would not tolerate violence as the continent-sized Latin American country, convulsed by a graft scandal involving dozens of politicians, prepared for a new spate of protests.  

Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff warned Monday she would not tolerate violence as the continent-sized Latin American country, convulsed by a graft scandal involving dozens of politicians, prepared for a new spate of protests.

Brazil saw unprecedented demonstrations in mid-2013 through to last year`s World Cup as citizens protested transport fare increases and the cost of staging major sports events, with some $12 billion spent on the soccer extravaganza.

Fresh protests are set within the coming days, with the the Supreme Court having given the go-ahead for investigations into 47 politicians, chiefly allies of Rousseff`s ruling coalition, over a huge corruption scandal at state oil firm Petrobras.

Rousseff, re-elected in late October to a second term, noted that while demonstrating is a democratic right, she would not tolerate violence.

"The fact that Brazil is developing and guarantees the right to demonstrate is something we all value," she said.

"But what we cannot accept is violence," said Rousseff, a former urban guerrilla detained and tortured under the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Rousseff opponents, notably in business hub Sao Paulo, said on social media that they are planning a raft of protests in dozens of cities against her rule.

Some vocal opponents of the Workers Party (PT) leader are demanding her impeachment over the scandal, with politicians said to have creamed off billions of dollars in kickbacks from inflated contracts with private contractors chasing lucrative deals.Rousseff, who beat social democratic candidate Aecio Neves in an October run-off election, said: "The election is over. There cannot be a third round... short of a break with democracy."

Rousseff is not being investigated over the Petrobras affair, even though she chaired the firm`s board for much of the decade when the corruption is alleged to have flourished.

Investigators calculate some $3.8 billion was funneled to politicians in all.

The scandal involving Petrobras, Brazil`s largest corporation, has wiped hundreds of billions of dollars off the company`s market value, dragging down the stock market and undermining confidence with the economy already tanking amid pallid growth and rising inflation.

The government has responded by announcing a package of spending cuts, but the economic climate and Petrobras affair are fueling popular unrest.

The PT website indicated unions and pro-government groups would organize their own marches "to defend democracy, social gains (made under 12 years of PT rule), Petrobras and workers` rights."

Earlier, Rousseff approved a new law on "feminicide" -- the killing of a woman because of her gender in a country where 50,000 women lost their lives through violence over the past decade, official figures show.

Rousseff, Brazil`s first female leader, said 15 Brazilian women are killed every day through domestic violence and urged women not to see such treatment as "inevitable."

Brazil`s Congress approved a bill recognizing feminicide last week.

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