SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – ‘Temer Out!’ ‘Against the Coup!’ and ‘Culture and Work!’
These are some of the signs plastered all over the walls of the Ministry of Culture building in San Paulo. Visual artists, filmmakers, designers, dancers, actors and many others have been occupying the building for more than a month, protesting the current impeachment process that has engulfed the country – what many here are calling a coup.
‘We artists, and the people who form the country’s democracy, we reject this imposed government and do not recognize it as an authority,’ said Cesar Haber Paelornik, a graphic designer and member of the occupation.
The interim government of Michel Temer has been in power for just over a month, since the Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial for impeachment. The move has baffled political analysts and angered a large part of Brazilian society, since Rousseff is one of the few Brazilian politicians who has not been charged with corruption.
Instead, the suspended president is being charged with manipulating budget numbers ahead of the last national elections to cover up Brazil’s failing economy. But this is largely seen as an administrative error and is not an impeachable offence.
The impeachment put the opposition PMDB party in to office for the first time in over 12 years. Since 2003, the party has lost four consecutive elections to the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT), including the latest one in 2014, which saw President Rousseff re-elected.
This political maneuver also brought someone to power who is so unpopular he would have almost no chance of winning in a national election. According to polls released two weeks ago, only 11.3 per cent of Brazilians actually support Temer’s acting government.