Catholic and Evangelical religious leaders on Tuesday filed a petition for Congress to open an impeachment trial against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro due to his mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The petition was backed by 17 Christian movements and 380 bishops, priests, and pastors. Among them are representatives of the Catholic Church in Brazil, the country with the largest number of Catholics in the world.
In recent months, 63 citizen petitions have been sent to Congress for Bolsonaro's impeachment. Of those, only five have been explicitly rejected and the remaining petitions await a decision by the Low House President who will be elected next Monday.
In Brazil, the opening of an impeachment trial against a President is an exclusive decision of this lawmaker who can leave the petitions filed for several months without offering explanations.
The current Lower Chamber President Rodrigo Maia assures that Bolsonaro deserves to be tried for his omissions; however, this lawmaker claims that the opening of an impeachment trial would paralyze the government and aggravate the health crisis.
The meme reads, "According to the Workers' Party (PT) President Gleisi Hoffmann, civil society and popular participation will be decisive in 'liberating the country and the people from the health, economic and social chaos imposed by Bolsonaro and his administration'." On Sunday 31, a new Stop Bolsonaro rally will take place.
Religious leaders allege that Bolsonaro has committed "crimes of responsibility," which justify an immediate impeachment trial.
"The main reason for this petition is the total absence of initiatives by the government to contain the impacts of the pandemic," Brazil's National Council of Christian Churches spokeswoman Romi Bencke said.
"Bolsonaro acted against recommendations from health authorities, violated the mandatory use of masks, promoted crowds, questioned the efficacy of vaccines, placed obstacles to vaccination, and campaigned for the use of medicines with efficacy not proven by science," the religious leaders argue.
In recent days, leftist movements and right-wing groups took to the streets to demand that Congress vote on at least one of the 57 impeachment petitions.
On Sunday, center-right militants held caravans of vehicles in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Cuiaba, and Belen. On the previous day, leftist parties, unions, and social movements organized extensive caravans in at least 50 cities.