Pressure mounts on Bolsonaro amid rising anger over vaccine corruption scandal

Thursday - 01/07/2021 14:43
Tens of thousands to demand Bolsonaro’s removal from office after incendiary reports on allegedly corrupt deals to acquire vaccines
Jair Bolsonaro has sought to distance himself from a scandal that threatens to fatally undermine his already threadbare claim to be an anti-corruption crusader. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images
Jair Bolsonaro has sought to distance himself from a scandal that threatens to fatally undermine his already threadbare claim to be an anti-corruption crusader. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

Jair Bolsonaro has been plunged into arguably the most treacherous moment of his presidency, as the Brazilian leader faces a snowballing scandal over allegedly corrupt Covid vaccine deals and mounting public rage over his handling of an epidemic that has killed more than half a million people.

Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to return to the streets on Saturday to demand Bolsonaro’s removal from office – the third such mass demonstration in just over a month. On Wednesday a curious coalition of left- and rightwing opponents submitted a fresh petition for Bolsonaro’s impeachment after the Brazilian media published incendiary claims about supposedly dodgy dealings to acquire coronavirus vaccines.

“Now is the time to bring down Bolsonaro,” said Guilherme Boulos, a prominent leftist who signed the impeachment request and is among the organizers of this weekend’s rallies which, unusually, some rightwingers have said they will join.

Claims of sleaze involving members of Bolsonaro’s administration and Covid vaccine negotiations surfaced last Friday during a sensational hearing of the congressional inquiry investigating the government’s reaction to one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks.

Luis Miranda, a rightwing lawmaker whose brother works in the health ministry, claimed they had personally alerted Bolsonaro to concerns over a 1.6bn-real (£232m) deal to import India’s Covaxin shot.

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 Keywords: COVID 19

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