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Brazilian Painted Faces Are Back, But Now in Favor of Government

Some 10,000 demonstrators marched Tuesday, August 16, in Brazil’s capital BrasÀ­lia to protest against corruption and express solidarity with embattled President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva while Congress kept ahead with the investigation on bribes for votes and illegal financing of political parties.

With their faces painted the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag marchers walked along the Ministries Esplanade, a wide avenue on which the buildings of the three branches of government stand, making a brief stop at the Treasury Ministry.


Angry chants and speeches highlighted protestors’ fury with several political parties’ attempts to impeach and ultimately remove President Lula and his ruling party from office.


Lula’s top advisors and the Workers Party main officials have resigned following disclosures of deep-rooted corruption practices, including illegal campaign funding involving overseas fiscal paradises such as Bermuda.


João Feliciano, president of CUT, Brazil’s largest labor federation said demonstrators “oppose coups” and consider talks about removing the president “a destabilizing ploy.”


“Lula for us is a symbol; the long established relation with social movements makes us reject any doubts about his honesty or his dedication”, added Feliciano.


“We’re here to demand corruption be investigated and those guilty punished, but also to defend Lula and his administration”, emphasized Feliciano.


This however did not impede the marchers during their brief stop before the Treasury Ministry to reject and condemn the “neo-liberal” and open market policies of the Lula da Silva administration.


The green and yellow faces of unionists, landless peasants and students were reminiscent of the “painted faces” that in 1992 called for the removal of then-President Fernando Collor de Mello, who finally resigned when it became clear he would be convicted in impeachment proceedings.


“We ‘painted faces’ have taken to the streets to expose a conservative coup and to defend President Lula” said Gustavo Petta, president of the UNE (União Nacional dos Estudantes – National Students’ Union.


Students also called for a political reform establishing clear and transparent standards for the funding of political campaigns, which is at the heart of the scandal that has been rocking Brazilian public opinion for over two months and increasingly weakening President Lula’s administration and his re-election chances for 2006.


The demonstration was peaceful and policed by nearly 2,000 officers.


A similar protest, this one against Lula however, has been called for today by Marxist parties proposing as an alternative to impeachment moving up the presidential elections scheduled for October of next year.


This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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