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Copacabana beach protest as death toll passes 500K

Activists set 500 red roses on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach on Sunday, commemorating the deaths of 500,000 Brazilians from COVID-19 as Brazil passed the devastating milestone.

The symbolic display was also intended as a rebuke to President Jair Bolsonaro's attempt to minimize the disease.

The demonstration on the iconic beach was organised by Rio de Paz, an NGO which has staged numerous public events calling for a more effective government response to the pandemic.

Anti-government protesters had taken to the streets in more than a score of cities across Brazil a day earlier with the confirmed death toll continuing to rise.

The country of some 213 million people is registering nearly 100,000 new infections and 2,000 deaths a day, while a sluggish vaccine campaign that has fully inoculated less than 12% of the population.