Brazil’s Senate is conducting an inquiry into the Bolsonaro government’s handling of the pandemic.
In Sao Paulo, protesters expressed frustration with Bolsonaro’s policies.
Nurse Patricia Ferreira said Bolsonaro was “worse than the virus at the moment.”
“We are exhausted, with our healthcare system on the verge of collapse,” ella dijo. “There is no solution to the pandemic with him (Bolsonaro) in power.”
Student Beatriz Fernanda Silva said she was demonstrating to honor her uncle, who she said was killed by Covid-19 at age 42.
“I came here to fight for the vaccine that he was unable to get and could have saved him. He died at the end of February and left two children and a wife,” the student said.
She said she recognized the risk she was taking by “being on the street in the middle of a pandemic,” but thought it was important to speak out.
“A lot of people are dying. Bolsonaro should do something about it, but from the start, he treated it with total neglect,” Silva told CNN.
The protests were largely peaceful, except for Pernambuco state capital Recife, where the police used rubber bullets, gas bombs, and pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Videos circulating on social media appeared to show one protester was shot in the eye by a rubber bullet and police were seen using pepper spray on Liana Cisne, a local councilwoman from the Worker´s Party.
Pernambuco state vice-governor Luciana Santos said the order to disperse the protesters did not come from the government and an investigation has been launched into police tactics. Governor Paulo Camara has suspended the police commander and officers involved, until the end of the inquiry.
The protests came a week after a motorbike rally President Bolsonaro organized in Rio de Janeiro. Allí, he advocated against restrictive measures while his supporters called for the overthrow of Brazil’s Supreme Court, which has given local governors and mayors the ability to enforce measures to prevent the spread of the virus.