Thousands of Brazilians marched Sunday to demand that Congress impeach President Dilma Rousseff, whose government is plagued by an overwhelming corruption scandal and a dismal economy.
"Inflation is through the roof, unemployment is shockingly high and we get nothing for the amount of taxes we pay," said Andre Patrao, 47, an economist demonstrating in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.
The protests were held in dozens of places including the capital of Brasilia and the opposition stronghold of Sao Paulo, but were considerably smaller than demonstrations earlier this year challenging Rousseff and her ruling Workers' Party.
Impeachment proceedings began against Brazil's president last week. Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, a bitter rival of Rousseff, introduced a petition to impeach the president earlier this month. The Supreme Court suspended the discussion temporarily while it reviews how Congress formed the commission to debate the measure.
Many people at the protests wore Brazil's national soccer jersey. Others held banners condemning Rousseff's party for a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras that has entangled the country's most influential figures, from one of its wealthiest bankers to a construction scion to leaders of Congress.
In Brasilia, protesters staged a mock funeral for Rousseff and burned dolls representing her mentor and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Sao Paulo attracted the biggest crowd, with about 40,000 people, according to the reputable pollster Datafolha, down from 135,000 in an August protest and 210,000 in March. Smaller demonstrations occurred across Brazil from the Amazonian city of Belem to smaller towns in the interior.
"This is just a warm-up, there will be a huge mobilization in January," said Paloma Morena, a 35-year-old scientist on Sao Paulo's most famous street, Avenida Paulista, where protesters carried blow-up caricatures of Rousseff and her predecessor, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva, dressed in prison uniforms.
The demonstrations were held by the same right-leaning groups that produced massive turnouts earlier this year to demand Rousseff's impeachment when the process hadn't started.
Although most complaints were related to the corruption scandal, Rousseff is facing impeachment on the argument her administration broke fiscal laws by using state-run banks to fill budget gaps. The country is also in a deep recession with forecasts saying growth domestic product should contract by 3.5 percent in 2015.
Analysts say the protests could play a role in swaying votes in the House of Representatives if the impeachment proceedings are first approved by a legislative commission. The request to impeach her needs to be approved by two thirds of the 513-member legislative body to advance to the Senate. Currently the opposition is not thought to have the votes to impeach Rousseff.