Brazilians demonstrate in support of President Jair Bolsonaro and his embattled Justice Minister Sergio Moro at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. — AFP Photo
RIO DE JANEIRO — Thousands protested in Brazil on Sunday in support of Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who is battling claims he conspired with prosecutors on his anti-corruption drive to keep former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from another presidential run.
Moro, a powerful judge who joined President Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet in January, has faced calls for his resignation over leaked chats purportedly showing he worked with prosecutors in the so-called Car Wash probe to keep Lula, a popular leftist, out of the 2018 presidential race.
Demonstrators dressed in Brazil's national colours of yellow and green took to the streets in 88 cities including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the capital Brasilia, news website G1 reported, in a show of support for Moro, whom many Brazilians fed up with corrupt leaders consider a hero.
The protesters also demanded Congress approve the government's ambitious overhaul of the bloated retirement system. Bolsonaro has warned it will bankrupt the country if changes are not adopted.
Turnout, though, appeared to be lower than in recent protests for and against Bolsonaro's administration.
"I think Minister Moro is fundamental to everything that is going well in this country," Nelson de Oliveira Filho, 70, said at the Sao Paulo march.
"Show me one person before him who could make people believe, in whom we could place our trust."
Bolsonaro tweeted his congratulations to the protesters, while Moro thanked supporters who "believe in our work."
"Hackers, criminals, or malicious publishers will not alter these fundamental truths," he said on Twitter. — AFP