Called mostly by activist groups via social media, the demonstrations assailed Rousseff, whose standing in the polls has plunged amid a snowballing corruption scandal that has embroiled politicians from her Workers’ Party as well as a sputtering economy, a weakening currency and rising inflation.
But the protests drew relatively modest crowds, likely giving the president some breathing room. Huge numbers had come out for two earlier rounds of demonstrations this year.
Turnout appeared significantly lower in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s industrial and economic capital where dissatisfaction with Rousseff has run particularly high and protests in March and April drew thick crowds. The president’s supporters also staged a small counter-demonstration in front of the offices of her mentor and predecessor as president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The Datafolha polling firm estimated 135,000 people demonstrated against Rousseff on Sao Paulo’s Avenida Paulista, one of the city’s largest avenues, while state police put the number at 350,000. Crowd-counting experts have long criticized Brazilian police estimates, saying they overestimate crowds by relying on photos of only the most crowded areas to estimate a gathering. Datafolha breaks the avenue up into sections and gauges density for each section.