Brazilians get that sinking feeling as crisis deepens

Brazil as Titanic Image copyright Twitter/@paulinhaitu
Image caption The Brazilian state is presented as the sinking Titanic by this government critic.

The political crisis that has engulfed Brazil has prompted a tumultuous and acrimonious response on the country's social media.

As street protests continued many critics of the government took to Twitter using the hashtag #QuedaDoPlanalto which translates as Fall of Planalto - a reference to the name of the presidential palace.

The hashtag - a playful twist on the Hollywood disaster movies "London Has Fallen" and "Olympus Has Fallen" - was for a time the top global trend on Twitter.

The current crisis stems from slow-burning allegations of corruption involving the state oil company Petrobras and the ruling Workers' Party. Last week prosecutors filed charges against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accusing him of money laundering and fraud, which he has denied.

Many protesters have gone online to express the view that the government, lead by Lula's successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, is rotten to the core. This Twitter user posted what he called the new Brazilian flag. In his design the national motto "Ordem e Progresso" - meaning order and progress - has been replaced with corruption and mischief. The flag is headed with the word "luto" which translates as mourning. The person who posted it comments "Sorry but it's true"

Image copyright Twitter/@Ivo_Tithagho

In another cartoon shared widely, Lula's troubles are likened to the iconic toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. The caption reads: "Image to inspire one more day towards the end of the gang".

Image copyright Twitter/@pauloap

Many other tweets have called for the impeachment of President Rousseff. It follows her decision to appoint Lula as her chief of staff, a move which many have interpreted as an attempt to shield the former president from prosecution. That view is represented in this cartoon in which Lula is seen cowering under the protective skirts of President Rousseff to avoid federal judge Sergio Moro, who is presiding over the investigation of the Petrobras scandal.

Image copyright Twitter/@Rrodryggo

However, supporters of the government have been outraged by the decision of a judge to block Lula's appointment as chief of staff. Judge Itagiba Catta Preta issued the injunction on the grounds that the corruption investigation could be derailed if Lula became a minister. But some on the left have questioned the impartiality of the judge. The singer Isabel Monteiro, once of the band Drugstore, was among those who tweeted a photo showing him wearing badges showing his support former opposition presidential candidate Aecio Neves on Facebook.

Image copyright Twitter/@GringaBrazilien

Another Twitter user commented ``judge Itagiba Catta Preta is an open militant against the government on Facebook. Should a judge be impartial. Or not?"

Written by Bruno Garcez, BBC Brasil

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