July 3 (UPI) — On Saturday, protesters demanded the impeachment of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro amid claims that he sought profits from purchasing COVID-19 vaccines.
Crowds gathered in Brazil’s largest cities, including Rio De Janeiro where tens of thousands of demonstrators called for Balsonaro’s removal.
“I’m here because we absolutely have to get this monster out of power and reclaim Brazil,” protestor Magda Souza told The Guardian.
On Friday, the attorney general’s office ordered an investigation into Bolsonaro’s role in the vaccine corruption scandal. He’s accused of overlooking warnings of irregularities in a deal to secure 20 million vaccines that hadn’t completed clinical trials.
Witnesses have been shedding light on the government’s response to the pandemic, which has taken the lives of over 520,000 Brazilians.
“Every crime committed by the president is serious, but this one is even more serious because it involves lives,” Sao Paulo congress member Joice Hasselmann told The New York Times. “Brazil can’t stand another year with Bolsonaro.”
One hundred legislators presented draft impeachment articles listing scores of alleged crimes earlier this week.
The vaccine scandal in Brazil began in June as members of a Congressional commission became suspicious about the terms of a $316 million deal the government struck to buy 20 million doses of Covaxin.
The deal was made hastily, even though Covaxin hadn’t completed clinical trials or been authorized by Brazil’s health regulator.
Brazil ignored repeated offers by Pfizer, which offered millions of doses earlier in the year. The Covaxin price tag was higher than what the manufacturer announced previously.
Thousands marched in May, calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment over his COVID-19 response.