Before leaving the Planalto Palace, Dilma said goodbye to Lula. She went to Alvorada and he returned to São Bernardo do Campo (SP) - PHOTO: Ricardo Stuckert/Instituto Lula

At 6:34 am on Thursday, May 12, 2016, Senate President Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL) announced the opening of the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff, after 20 hours of session. Thus, the greatest threat to democracy since the 1964 civil-military coup was consolidated.

Fireworks crossed the giant sky of Brasilia. To reach the Palácio do Planalto, it was necessary to access the streets parallel to the Esplanada dos Ministérios, closed since the beginning of the voting, on Wednesday, 11. A railing contained the crowd that came to show solidarity with Dilma.

Under the hot sun, journalists, cameramen and photographers were jostling to try to enter the building that guards the seat of power. The difficulty of getting to the news announced what was to come: in a few hours the change of stick was established. It was reflected in the excesses of rotten and petty powers, from the security of the Palace door to the extinction of fundamental ministries.

The president arrived through the garage, unseen by the population that gathered in front of the ramp. Inside, in a small room, photographers and cameras competed for space to record the image of the announcement to the press. A small corridor held a group of women who carried on their faces the tiredness of the late night and the hopelessness of those who see the signs of the retrogression of rights. They carried flowers for Dilma.

Other women surrounded the president during the message about her removal. In the front line were the ministers Tereza Campello, of Social Development; Eva Chiavon, from the Civil House; Eleonora Menicucci, Women; Izabella Teixeira, from the Environment; Kátia Abreu, from Agriculture, Livestock and Supply; and Nilma Lino Gomes, from Racial Equality, in addition to senators and deputies.

Upon entering, the president was applauded under the chorus “Dilma, warrior of the Brazilian homeland”. She was beaten down by the tense weeks that had culminated in that moment. The same sad look made up the features of the powerful women beside her and many of her ministers. Despite this climate, Dilma was firm.

“As president elected by the 54 million (citizens and citizens), I address you in this decisive moment for Brazilian democracy and for our future as a Nation”, she said, at the opening of her speech. “I have already suffered the unspeakable pain of torture; the agonizing pain of illness; and now I suffer once more the equally nameless pain of injustice. What hurts the most right now is injustice.”

Cameras from all over Brazil (and many countries) pointed at the scene. Dilma ended the speech warning that she does not get tired of fighting, that she is not alone and thanked her. “We are going to show the world that there are millions of defenders of democracy in our country.” She quickly headed for the Palace's ground floor, followed by security guards, ministers, deputies, senators, journalists – and women, above all. She decided not to go down the ramp. It would be an image that would be frozen in misguided symbolism. Dilma is away, but she is still president of Brazil.

I wanted to go out the front door. With dignity, a smile and head held high, the first hug the president received was from a woman. The crowd chanted slogans, in predominantly female voices. Among the women waiting outside the Planalto Palace was a group of seven fellow prisoners who were tortured with Dilma during the dictatorship, in 1970, at the Tiradentes Prison, in São Paulo. “To be with her today is an extremely important act for all of us”, said Guiomar Silva Lopes, in a statement to Jornalistas Livres. “We came to show our solidarity with our companion in struggle and we want to reaffirm that we will continue with her.”

As if taking an Olympic tour of the Palace, Dilma was followed by the mass of women, journalists, photographers, cameramen and parliamentarians. She was going to meet the people who were waiting for her on the other side of the railing.

The audience held posters that said “We will be back”, carried flowers and kept their fists raised while singing “Renova, renew, renew hope, Dilma is a warrior and she never tires of fighting” and “Hello, olê, hello, Dilma, Dilma ”, or “I believe in my country, because it is ruled by a woman”, asking “Stay, dear”.

The president leaned against the railing and greeted the people. On their faces a mixture of joy at seeing the president in person, regret for the coup and concern for the future. “I am here to support President Dilma and to witness this moment that I feel as if it were a fulminating blow and for the loss that I feel will happen, of everything that our people received and changed the lives of so many people in the country” , said Ana Zélia, 60, from Brasilia. She was shaking with a mixture of emotion and nervousness. "It is the end of an era. It is a moment of great pain for those who think of the less fortunate. I also came on their behalf. So that we have dignity,” she added.

In her speech at the edge of the ramp, accompanied by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ministers, Dilma was grateful and strengthened by the affection. “We women have one thing in common, we are worthy. I want to tell you that I have fought my whole life and I will continue to fight,” she declared.

At the end of the speech, Dilma said goodbye to Lula. With a complicit smile, the former president hugged Dilma. He kissed her cheek and she laid her head on Lula's left shoulder. And they left. She to the Alvorada Palace. He goes to her house in São Bernardo do Campo (SP).

The day before impeachment

Hard times
Difficult times: leaders of African-based religions gather in the garden of Palácio do Planalto on the morning of Wednesday, May 11, in an event against religious intolerance – PHOTO: Maria Carolina Trevisan

Under the management of Michel Temer

During the inauguration of the interim president, protesters expressed dissatisfaction with Temer and called for military intervention.
During the inauguration of the interim president, protesters expressed dissatisfaction with Temer and called for military intervention. In a few hours, conservatism and coldness took over the Planalto Palace – PHOTO: Fernando Sato

 

new costume

In a few minutes, the Palácio do Planalto has completely changed. Most of the visitors left. A group of 30 women remained who chained themselves to the bars to protest against the illegitimate government of Michel Temer. The guards repositioned themselves. One of them wanted to prevent a minister from returning to the main hall. The press reorganized itself to listen to the interim president. Servers who insisted on exonerating themselves with Dilma cleaned their drawers.

That afternoon, around 17 pm, the Palace dressed in yellow to welcome Temer and his ministry of white men. The first protest he faced came from photographers, who chanted “there will be no photo!”. Instead of emotional people, the room was filled with black suits.

When commenting on the elimination of ministries, Temer choked and had to ask for pills. It ended up reducing from 32 to 23 portfolios, exterminating the Ministry of Culture and secretariats such as Human Rights, Women, Racial Equality, Youth and People with Disabilities. He chose as a symbol the old “Order and Progress” and as a motto “don't talk about crisis, work”.

Closing his speech, Michel Temer evoked God to protect the State which, according to the Constitution, is secular. “What we want to do now, with Brazil, is a religious act, it is an act of reconnecting the entire Brazilian society with the fundamental values ​​of our country. That's why I ask God to bless us all: me, my team, congressmen, members of the Judiciary and the Brazilian people, to always be up to the great challenges that lie ahead.”

The atmosphere at the door of the Planalto Palace at the time of Temer's inauguration speech was also opposite to what was seen in the morning: police repressed a protest against the coup with pepper spray; three people carried the Brazilian flag dressed in the national team's uniform; and two men carried placards calling for a return to military intervention. The future of the past tense had just begun.

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