Marilia Brocchetto & Tim Hume, CNN – Brazil protests: Artist blindfolds statues in uproar over corruption scandal

(CNN) A corruption scandal that has stirred protests in Brazil is hard to watch — even the statues in Rio de Janeiro can’t look.

About 100 statues throughout the city were blindfolded as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in massive weekend protests across the country.

Statues of former leaders, writers and even international figures have had red blindfolds placed around their faces.

It is the work of a Brazilian artist, who asked to remain anonymous and who described the effort as a silent protest.

Huge turnout at demonstrations

The protests Sunday saw huge crowds dressed in the green and yellow of Brazil’s flag flood the streets in cities from Manaus, deep in the Amazon jungle in the north, to Porto Alegre in the south, calling for President Dilma Rousseff to resign.

The demonstrations followed the announcement of a formal investigation into former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva over an alleged bribery scheme involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras (

The scandal has embroiled dozens of the country’s leading businessmen and politicians, many from the current and former presidents’ Workers’ Party, or PT.

Protesters carried giant balloons depicting Lula da Silva dressed in prison garb. The ex-leader has staunchly denied the accusations.

But the allegations against Lula da Silva have led to mounting pressures against Rousseff, his hand-picked successor.

But the President, who once was Lula da Silva’s chief of staff and energy minister, told reporters Friday she had no plans to resign.

Shielding the eyes of the powerless

The artist behind the blindfold protest told CNN that his so-called Oraculo Project is meant to shield the eyes of those who cannot do anything to change the country.

But in contrast to the statues, Brazilians have the ability to do something to change the “shameful” state of the country, the artist said.

The artist said the mounting protests show something is wrong with the way politicians are running Brazil.

The project does not take sides on any political party activities, the artist said, but it is “against corruption” and believes in a new “road to build a better future”.

CNN, Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT) March 14, 2016