Brazil’s Independence Day Gathers Small Anti-Temer Rallies

  • Protesters denounce impeachment of Dilma Rousseff as a coup
  • ‘Out With Temer’ has become a rallying cry on social media

Brazil’s anti-government groups held small rallies on Wednesday to denounce Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment and criticize the economic reforms the new president aims to pass in Congress to reduce the nation’s record budget deficit.

The demonstrations on Brazil’s Independence Day holiday occurred a week after the Senate voted to permanently oust Rousseff on charges she broke fiscal laws and replace her with Michel Temer. As her former vice president, Temer had been running the country on an interim basis since May when she was forced to temporarily step down for impeachment proceedings.

The demonstrations in several state capitals, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, featured calls for new elections and against pension and fiscal reforms. Before leaving office, Rousseff said she supported a plebiscite to consult the Brazilian people about fresh elections, though even leaders of her own Workers’ Party rejected the idea. Without a new vote, Temer will govern until his term ends at the end of 2018.

While demonstrations have been smaller in size than the anti-Rousseff marches that preceded her impeachment, they have attracted growing attention among local and international media outlets. "Fora Temer," which means "Out With Temer" in Portuguese, has become a rallying cry on social media, where Brazilians have stepped up criticism of police who used force against protesters on Sunday.

For a look at Brazil’s political challenges following impeachment, click here.

Temer has played down popular resistance to his leadership and criticized demonstrators who engaged in vandalism over the weekend. He made the remarks from China during the Group of 20 summit, where he met with world leaders and business executives to drum up interest in Brazil.

The demonstrations threaten Temer’s message that he can unify a divided country and win approval of unpopular fiscal measures that he says are needed to revive confidence. Brazilian assets declined on Monday amid concern that continued political unrest could undermine his efforts.

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