Protests against Bolsonaro grow after court backs corruption inquiry.

Protests against president Jair Bolsonaro spread across Brazil on Saturday, a day after a supreme court justice authorised a criminal investigation into his response to allegations of potential corruption involving a vaccine deal.

Demonstrators gathered by the hundreds or thousands in more than 40 cities to demand Mr Bolsonaro’s impeachment or greater access to vaccines against Covid-19.

“If we have a minute of silence for each Covid death, we would be quiet until June 2022,” read a poster held aloft by a man in Belem, the capital of Para state.

More than half a million Brazilians have died, by official count.

People take part in a demonstration against the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: Miguel Schincariol/AFP via Getty Images

People take part in a demonstration against the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photograph: Miguel Schincariol/AFP via Getty Images

In Friday’s decision, supreme court judge Rosa Weber said the investigation was supported by recent testimony in a senate committee investigating the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prosecutors will investigate whether Mr Bolsonaro committed the crime of “prevarication”, which entails delaying or refraining from action required as part of a public official’s duty for reasons of personal interest.

She did not rule out the possibility other potential wrongdoing could be investigated.

The inquiry comes after Luis Ricardo Miranda, the chief of the health ministry’s import division, said he faced undue pressure to sign off on the import of 20 million vaccines from Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech.

He said there were irregularities in the invoices, particularly an upfront payment of €37 million to a Singapore-based company.

Mr Miranda testified before the senate committee on June 25th along with his brother, Luis Miranda, a politician who until recently was allied with Mr Bolsonaro.

The Mirandas said they took their concerns directly to Mr Bolsonaro, who assured them he would report the irregularities to the federal police.

However, the federal police never received any request to investigate, a federal police source with knowledge of investigations told the Associated Press.

The secretary-general of the presidency, Onyx Lorenzoni, confirmed Mr Bolsonaro met with the Mirandas, but claimed they presented fraudulent documents. Mr Bolsonaro ordered that the brothers be investigated, he said.

Bharat has denied any wrongdoing with respect to vaccine supply. Mr Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of corruption, and told reporters on June 28th he cannot know what transpires within his ministries. – AP

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

UNESCO Leaves Australia's Great Barrier Reef Off Endangered List.

UNESCO Leaves Australia's Great Barrier Reef Off Endangered List.

Environmentalists call move a ‘terrible’ decision driven by politics, not science

Cuba: Fears over missing demonstrators in Havana

Cuba: Fears over missing demonstrators in Havana

In recent weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets of Havana in the largest and most significant anti-government demonstrations in decades. Cubans are protesting about food shortages and high prices, as well as the handling of the COVI...

Tokyo Olympics: Mixed emotions as Bradly Sinden takes silver.

Tokyo Olympics: Mixed emotions as Bradly Sinden takes silver.

Team GB's Bradly Sinden has taken a silver medal after losing in the men's 68kg taekwondo final. The 22-year old from Doncaster was in the lead until the dying seconds. But his personal disappointment has not been felt by the people in his hometow...

Lawmakers sponsor bill to ‘free’ Britney and others from conservatorships.

Lawmakers sponsor bill to ‘free’ Britney and others from conservatorships.

Rep. Nancy Mace, S.C., talks about sponsoring the ‘FREE Act,’ which seeks to protect the rights of 1.3 million Americans under conservatorship, including pop star Britney Spears. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox...

Two medals for Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics

Two medals for Team GB in the Tokyo Olympics

Team GB's Bradly Sinden has picked up a silver medal in the men's Taekwondo and Chelsie Giles secured bronze in the women's Judo. Sky News videos are now available in Spanish here/Los video de Sky News están disponibles en español aquí SUBSCRIBE t...

Biden administration formally accuses China of Microsoft systems hack.

Biden administration formally accuses China of Microsoft systems hack.

The United States and its global allies are accusing the Chinese government of widespread cybercrime. China denies accusations of promoting state-backed hackers to steal trade secrets and technology. Jamieson Greer, a partner at King and Spalding ...