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Anti-Government Groups Hope to Draw 100,000 to the Streets on March 15

03/10/2015 - 09h14

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DANIELA LIMA
PATRÍCIA CAMPOS MELLO
FROM SÃO PAULO

LUCAS VETTORAZZO
FROM RIO

They have no fear of being accused of inciting a coup. Either they will promote the largest protest against the administration of President Dilma Rousseff since her re-election in November, or they will be responsible for the failure of a movement which aims to shake up Brazilian politics.

On March 15, marches are scheduled in more than 200 Brazilian cities. They are likely to draw young liberals, entrepreneurs who preach radical reduction of the state, and even those who advocate a military coup.

They make a point of highlighting their differences. "The guys from the group Come to the Streets are older, richer and they have the support of the PSDB", says Renan Santos, 31, of the Free Brazil Movement (MBL). "They protest without asking for impeachment. It's like smoking marijuana without inhaling."

The MBL advocates Rousseff's impeachment, even if this means that vice-president Michel Temer, or president of Congress Eduardo Cunha (both of the PMDB), were to take her place. "The PMDB is corrupt, but the PT is totalitarian", says Kim Kataguiri, 19.

The accusation of a link with the PSDB has irritated figures from Come to the Streets, which has 200,000 followers on Facebook. The core has around 20 members, most of whom are entrepreneurs who prefer to remain anonymous. The group's spokesperson is Rogério Chequer, 46, partner at a lecture agency.

"We have not received any money or other materials from the party", he says. The notion that the group was linked to the PSDB became widespread during the elections, when they participated in protests in favor of Aécio Neves, the PSDB's defeated candidate. "It wasn't pro-Neves", Chequer explains. "It was anti-Rousseff."

For Come to the Streets, there is no legal basis for Rousseff's impeachment. Nonetheless, the group will still participate on March 15. They argue it is important to maintain pressure on the government, especially regarding the investigations into corruption at Petrobras.

In other protests, Come to the Streets mobilized its followers in order to expel groups which were defending another military coup. "This time it won't be possible", says Chequer. "It will be too big."

Groups that defend a military coup have participated in protests against Rousseff. In Rio, for example, the group Legalistas has held gatherings. "The way things are, I don't see any other solution", says air force reserve sergeant Tôni Oliveira, 58.

The comparison with the groups which advocate the return of the military regime irritates Come to the Streets and the MBL. They criticize the media, which they accuse of tarring them with the same brush.

No group would estimate turnout for the protests. Internally, the number being considered is 100,000.

Where does the money come from for all of this? Each group has its own methods. The MBL accepts donations and receives a few cents from YouTube each time its videos are viewed. Come to the Streets relies on contributions from its members.

Marcelo Reis, from the group Revoltados, has found another way to raise money. Owner of the most popular website amongst the organizers of the protest, he is selling a "protest kit", including a T-shirt, cap and pro-impeachment stickers.

Revoltados has advocated a military coup, but Reis says that today no senior members of the group believe that this is the solution. "We want democratic rules. Impeachment is in the constitution", he says.

Reis has converted a 38m2 flat into the group's headquarters. The flat is located in the same building as that of justice minister José Eduardo Cardoso in São Paulo.

The group promises to take the band Os Reaças to the Avenida Paulista. "Oh, oh, oheveryone knows what the tapir knew. Oh, oh, ohthe mollusk gave orders and she obeyed. Oh, oh, ohimpeachment. There's no escape. Impeachment! She must go", runs the refrain.

Reis played it for Folha at full volume in his flat. "Let's see if the minister can hear it", he said, laughing.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Editoria de arte/Folhapress

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