Demonstrations went into a second night in Sao Paulo and Brasilia on 17 March, after leftist former leader Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva was sworn in as President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff and a judge sought to block the move. Protesters filled the streets of Sao Paulo's main avenue angry that Lula's appointment will shield the former president from prosecutors who have charged him with money laundering and fraud as part of a sweeping graft probe centred on state oil company Petrobras.

"The people are tired. The people don't want this president, this Workers' Party, this gang in power any more; this gang which only steals and conceals its illicit actions," said student protester, Pedro Araujo in Sao Paulo, dressed up as Lula behind bars. "The people are tired. Lula deserves to be in jail, that's what he deserves."

Fellow protester Lucas Lander added: "It is corruption; a gang of thieves robbing the country all the time. They are not imprisoned. They don't change the law. The country has an awful image throughout the rest of the world, because of all this theft, and then Dilma goes and makes Lula a minister. Prison is what he deserves."

Protesters also moved in around congress in Brasilia as the sun was setting on the working day, meeting lines of police and army officials on guard in case scuffles broke out as they did when the news was announced on 16 March. Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, a federal judge in Brasilia issued an injunction to suspend Lula's appointment on the grounds it prevented "the free exercise of justice". The move was likely to inflame tensions that are already running high between the executive and the judiciary.