Millions of Brazilians flooded the streets of cities around the country in the biggest ever protests calling for President Dilma Rousseff's resignation, reflecting rising anger that could encourage Congress to impeach her. According to police estimates, three million people took part in protests in 200 cities amid widespread anger over corruption investigations and the worst recession in years.

Polling firm Datafolha estimated there were 500,000 demonstrators in Sao Paulo, the biggest rally in the city's history. The military police put the figure at 1.4 million at the height of the demonstration. A sea of protesters wearing Brazil's yellow and green national colours chanted "Dilma out" and waved banners.

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Demonstrators stage a huge march against Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, part of nationwide protests calling for her impeachment, in Sao PauloPaulo Whitaker/Reuters
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An enormous inflatable doll depicting former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dressed as a prisoner is seen during a protest in Sao PauloPaulo Whitaker/Reuters
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Demonstrators rest at a bus stop along Paulista Avenue in Sao PauloNelson Almeida/AFP
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Hundreds of thousands of protesters march down Paulista Avenue in Sao PauloMiguel Schincariol/AFP
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Huge crowds of demonstrators take part in a protest on Paulista Avenue in Sao PauloMiguel Schincariol/AFP
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A demonstrator is held by the police during a protest against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Paulista Avenue in Sao PauloMiguel Schincariol/AFP

The rallies were led by middle-class Brazilians angry over growing allegations of corruption in Rousseff's administration. Poor Brazilians, who form the base of the ruling Workers' Party support, have not turned out in great numbers in recent protests. But their support for Rousseff has faded as unemployment rises and inflation climbs.

Many protesters voiced support for Sergio Moro, the judge overseeing the two-year-old investigation into a network of political kick-backs and bribes centred on state oil company Petrobras. The demonstrators took aim at politicians across the spectrum, including Rousseff's opponents, as they vented their frustration with a ruling class that has been widely exposed in the graft probe, known as Operation Carwash.

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People with their faces painted in the colours of the Brazilian flag take part in protests around the countryAFP
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A man in Brasilia holds up a placard referring to the chief investigating judge in the Petrobras scandal, Sergio MoroAndressa Anholete/AFP
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A man dressed as Lula in a prison cell takes part in a protest demanding President Dilma Rousseff's resignation in BrasiliaEvariso Sa/AFP
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Crowds protest against President Dilma Rousseff's government in BrasiliaAndressa Anholete/AFP
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A demonstrator holds fake banknotes with an image of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a protest near the Brazilian national congress in BrasiliaUeslei Marcelino/Reuters
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Helicopters fly over a massive rally calling for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in BrasiliaMiguel Schincariol/AFP
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Demonstrators attend a protest against President Dilma Rousseff near the Rio Negro river in Manaus in Amazonas stateBruno Kelly/Reuters
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A girl holds an inflatable doll representing former President Lula dressed like a prison inmate during a protes in Manaus, Amazonas, northern BrazilRaphael Alves/AFP
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A man stands under a huge Brazilian flag during a protest against President Dilma Rousseff and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Manaus, Amazonas, northern BraziRaphael Alves/AFP
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Demonstrators protest in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, against the government of President Dilma RousseffJefferson Bernardes/AFP
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A street vendor offers dolls of President Dilma Rousseff and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dressed as prisoners during a protest in Porto Alegre, southern BrazilJefferson Bernardes/AFP
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People gather at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro to protest against Dilma Rousseff governmentChristophe Simon/AFP

Rousseff, who insists she will not quit, is the latest leftist leader in Latin America to face upheaval as a decade-long boom that fuelled breakneck growth and social spending comes to an abrupt end. Ahead of the demonstrations, tensions were high after Sao Paulo state prosecutors requested the arrest of Rousseff's predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on money-laundering charges. A judge still has to decide on the request, which can be rejected. Lula was briefly detained for questioning on 4 March as part of an investigation into a corruption case involving the state-owned oil company Petrobras.