Brazilian workers to rally on May Day against institutional coup

Issue 
People attend a protest against impeachment proceedings against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, in Porto Alegre, March 31.

Brazilian workers were planning May Day rallies ahead of May 1 to defend democracy against what is being cast as an attempted parliamentary coup against President Dilma Rousseff. The move came as representatives from both sides of Brazil's political divide made their case for or against impeachment on April 28.

A special Senate committee has been charged with reviewing the request to see the president removed from office. It will hear presentations from experts invited by both sides of the impeachment debate.

Brazilian workers were planning May Day rallies ahead of May 1 to defend democracy against what is being cast as an attempted parliamentary coup against President Dilma Rousseff. The move came as representatives from both sides of Brazil's political divide made their case for or against impeachment on April 28.

A special Senate committee has been charged with reviewing the request to see the president removed from office. It will hear presentations from experts invited by both sides of the impeachment debate.

The 21-member Senate committee has 10 working days to debate the impeachment bid and vote on the issue. If it wins with a simple majority, the question will then pass to the Senate at large for another vote.

The committee is headed by a representative of the PMDB, the party of Vice-President Michel Temer that broke with Rousseff's ruling Workers' Party (PT) last month in a move that locked in support for the impeachment effort headed by PMDB lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha.

Rousseff has said the impeachment bid lacks the legal basis required by the constitution and is a bid to shield Cunha and other corrupt lawmakers from facing charges. It is also widely seen as a conservative power grab after more than a decade of left-leaning PT governments.

In response, Brazil's May Day marches were slated to focus not only on workers' rights, but also the “parliamentary coup” —the impeachment process that many social movements say threatens to undermine democracy and roll back progressive gains made under the PT.

The Unified Workers' Central union (CUT), Brazil's main national labour union federation, called for mobilisations on May Day under the banner, “Brazil: Democracy and Rights.”

It aimed to bring together social movements, workers, students, women's groups, anti-racism movements and LGBTI rights advocates for marches to defend labour rights and democracy.

The Senate is expected to reach a decision mid-May about whether to move forward with the impeachment process. If approved, Rousseff will be suspended from office and replaced by Temer, while a probe is conducted.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.