At the call of left-wing parties and organizations, a noisy procession of some 500 vehicles marched through the main avenues of the economic capital Brasilia, displaying slogans such as “Vaccine pour tous”, “Oxygène”, “Bolsonaro out”, or “Impeachment yes”.
Demonstrators also protested against the end of emergency aid granted from April to the end of December to 68 million Brazilians, or nearly a third of the population.
Similar protests were held in several other cities across the country, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The far-right president has repeatedly downplayed the severity of Covid-19, which he first described as a “little flu”. He also questioned the use of masks, the effectiveness of vaccines and recommended “early treatment” with drugs whose effectiveness has not been proven.
He also criticized the containment measures taken by the governors of Brazilian states highlighting the only negative effects on the economy.
His government is the target of severe criticism for its management of the health crisis and for the delay in vaccination, which began this week with many hiccups: lack of doses and even syringes.
The protests will continue on Sunday in major cities, this time at the call of right-wing parties and organizations, such as the Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) and Vem Para Rua (Come to the streets), which had supported Mr. Bolsonaro when he came to power in January 2019 but then distanced themselves from his management of the pandemic.
A poll published on Friday by the Datafolha institute revealed a sharp drop in the popularity of Mr Bolsonaro, now supported by 31% of the population, against 37% in the last polls in August and December.
A second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic kills more than a thousand a day in Brazil. The country of 212 million inhabitants deplores more than 215,000 deaths.