Fight to Impeach Brazil’s Leader Tears at Fabric of Daily Life
BRASÍLIA — The wall, nearly a mile of corrugated metal, plunges down the center of the majestic lawn that faces Brazil’s National Congress, the modernist icon designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
It was hastily erected in recent days, and is meant to separate the hundreds of thousands of protesters expected to descend on Brasília, the Brazilian capital, this weekend as members of Congress vote on whether to begin impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.
The left side of the wall, facing Congress, is reserved for supporters of the left-leaning Ms. Rousseff, the right for people demanding her ouster.
“It’s not pretty, but the wall is necessary to keep the two sides from tearing each other apart,” a 21-year-old police officer in head-to-toe riot gear said as she stood in the searing sun on Friday afternoon. “When these protesters come together, they behave like soccer hooligans.”
Brazilian politics is a blood sport in the best of times, but the battle over Ms. Rousseff’s impeachment is inflaming passions as never before, cleaving families, turning friends into enemies and transforming children into unwitting surrogates for the warring sides. Social media has been flooded with venom, and