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Supporters of Brazil's Rousseff rally to defend her government

Thousands of supporters of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gathered in several cities to show their allegiance to her and defend state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, which has been targeted by corruption denouncements.

The police estimated that some 8,000 people participated in the march in Sao Paulo and at least 1,000 in Rio. There were manifestations in at least 21 states.

The movement, which is named National Day of fight in Defense of Workers' Rights, Petrobras, Democracy and Political Reform, is widely regarded as a response to a movement which calls for the impeachment of Rousseff, whose opponents will organize a day of protests against her on Sunday.

In several state capitals, trade union members, students, left-wing militants and other citizens called for the defense of democracy and the legitimacy of Rousseff's government, saying that calling for her impeachment without legal basis is nothing more than a coup.

They also defended oil giant Petrobras, recalling its importance to the country. The company's image has been severely tarnished by the involvement of several of its directors in a large scheme of money laundering and corruption.

Vagner Freitas, head of trade union CUT, qualified the marches as "an extraordinary success". He participated in the Sao Paulo manifestation.

The supporters of Rousseff did not avoid criticism of her measures. Some of the government's latest measures, such as the changes in widow's pensions, were criticized, and citizens also called for a political reform, which has been promised by many administrations, but has yet to become concrete.

[Source: Xinhua, Rio de Janeiro, 13Mar15]

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