As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests held against president

World News

A woman wearing a protective face mask holds a sign with a message that reads in Portuguese; “500,000, government of death” during a protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and economic policies they say harm the interests of the poor and working class, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 19, 2021. Brazil is approaching an official COVID-19 death toll of 500,000 — second-highest in the world. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters have taken to the streets in more than a score of cities across Brazil as the nation’s confirmed death toll from COVID-19 soared past half a million.

It’s a tragedy many critics blame on President Jair Bolsonaro’s attempt to minimize the disease. Thousands gathered Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, waving flags reading “Get out Bolsonaro.” Other marchers hoisted posters reading: “500 thousand deaths. It’s his fault.”  

Similar marches took place in at least 22 or Brazil’s 26 states. They were promoted by left-wing opposition parties who have been heartened by Bolsonaro’s declining poll ratings with next year’s presidential race looming.

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