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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 01:17 GMT 02:17 UK
Marchers decry Brazil corruption
Brazil anti-corruption march
Marchers wore clown noses to mock politicians
Thousands of Brazilians have marched through Sao Paulo to register their disgust at the corruption scandal shaking the country's parliament.

Despite heavy rain lawyers, students, union members and businessmen thronged the streets of Brazil's biggest city.

The protest was the biggest since the scandal broke in June.

A congressional inquiry has recommended that 18 MPs be expelled from the country's parliament for their alleged role in a cash-for-votes scheme.

The accused have been linked to an arrangement in which the governing Workers Party illegally paid MPs allegedly in return for political support.

Prison outfits

Brazilians wanted "all these crimes uncovered and the criminals tried and severely punished," Luis Flavio Durso, president of Brazil's Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers, told the crowd, to cheers.

Many of the crowd wore red noses, mocking politicians, or prisoners' outfits, signifying the punishment they saw fit for the guilty.

Organisers said there were 15,000 marchers on the streets, though police put the figure between 4,000 and 6,000.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazilian President
Lula has denied any knowledge of the bribes scheme

The march was named the "Zero Corruption" march, in an ironic stab at President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva's "Zero Hunger" campaign.

Marchers expressed disillusionment at Lula and his government's conservative economic policies.

"It is partly his fault," said Suzi Assis, who said she had voted for Lula in 2002 but might not in the election next year.

"It has always been like this but it is worse with the PT [Workers Party]."

Lula has not been directly linked to the scandal, and denies any knowledge of it, but it threatens to undermine his popularity ahead of the election.

"He is not the Lula of before," said metalworker Jose Antonio Cardoso.

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