Protesters massed in Brazil's largest city Sunday to call for the president to be removed from office and express outrage at a host of his policies, while the embattled leader tried to head off some of their criticism, the AP reports. President Michel Temer has suffered a continual drip of scandal and high-level resignations since he took office six months ago. But on Friday a scandal touched him directly for the first time amid allegations he abused his power to do a personal favor for one of his Cabinet ministers; he denied the allegation. Opposition politicians have promised to introduce measures in Congress calling for his impeachment, and on Sunday, hundreds of people gathered in Sao Paulo to call for just that. Representatives from political parties and social movements also protested against the government's proposal to cap spending to rein in the deficit, which many fear will result in deep cuts to education and health care.
Others were protesting rampant corruption in politics, criticizing not just the current administration, while some complained about a lack of suitable housing. One group held up a banner with a drawing of Fidel Castro, paying homage to the Cuban leader who died Friday night. Many criticized the way Temer came to power: He was the VP to President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached and removed from office earlier this year, and protesters said that meant he had no mandate to pass widespread changes in government programs. But many protesters expressed disgust at all politicians. "So much money has been stolen," says a local butcher. "I'm against everyone who is involved in corruption." Congress is considering anti-corruption laws, but many Brazilians worry such measures might perversely be used to pardon politicians who engaged in the practice in the past. Temer held a rare Sunday presser to say he wouldn't allow any amnesty for such practices.