BRASILIA, Brazil, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Thousands of Brazilians marched nationwide to reject a lower house vote which they say weakened an anti-corruption bill related to the Petrobras investigation.
The largest demonstrations on Sunday were held in Sao Paulo and along Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.
Brazil's Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday voted to pass an anti-corruption bill that included amendments that would harshly punish judges and prosecutors who abuse their powers. Protesters argued the bill intimidates investigators because it could discourage prosecutors from following cases out of fear of retribution.
Politicians who themselves are being investigated in the Operation Car Wash investigation voted to pass the bill with the controversial amendments.
Protesters held signs that said "Corrupt Congress" during demonstrations. Two giant dolls of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and of Federal Senate President Renan Calheiros, both accused of corruption, were inflated and paraded in Sao Paulo.
Protest organizers said they expected about 135,000 people to participate.
Roberto Requião, a senator from Brazil's Roraima state also accused of corruption, criticized the protesters -- calling them "manipulated mind-pieces."
Dozens of Brazilian business leaders and politicians have been indicted for corruption, money laundering and racketeering over the scandal in Petrobras, a semi-public oil and gas company. Politicians are accused of accepting bribes -- either personal bribes or bribes to distributed to their political party -- in exchange for lucrative government contracts.