Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians are pouring onto the streets of cities across the country, demanding an end to the ongoing neoliberal changes in their country.
Initially sparked by increases in fares on public transit at a time when massive sums are being spent to create a Potemkin Village front to be ready when the eyes of the world Brazil-ward for the 2014 World Cup matches.
Demonstrators were out in force again today [Wednesday] even though fare hikes had been rescinded in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, cities where the improvement gained massive support.
Robert Mackey of the New York Times writes of today’s hottest confrontation:
Tear gas once again filled the air outside a gleaming stadium in Brazil as the police in the northeastern city of Fortaleza blocked an estimated 35,000 protesters from approaching the venue where the national team, known as Seleção, met Mexico on Wednesday afternoon in a tune-up for next year’s World Cup.
Before the day was over, though, the protesters had the last laugh, as placards echoing their demands were waved by fans inside the grounds, several leading players voiced their support for the protests and the authorities in some parts of Brazil started to back away from the planned increases in bus fares that were the initial catalyst for the demonstrations.
From the BBC, here’s an aerial view of the police tear gas assault on protesters in Fortaleza:
Asher Levine and Tatiana Ramil of Reuters report on action elsewhere in the country:
Protesters blocked roads in Sao Paulo and marched toward a stadium hosting a major international soccer game in Brazil’s northeast on Wednesday in a growing wave of nationwide demonstrations against poor public services, inflation and other woes in Latin America’s biggest country.
After more than a week, the biggest series of protests to sweep Brazil in more than two decades continued in major capitals and moved into smaller cities. Focused at first in cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital, Brasilia, demonstrations in more than 70 smaller cities were expected across the country on Thursday.
Wednesday’s protests in Sao Paulo, the site of the most frequent marches, followed overnight demonstrations that led to looting and vandalism. Police arrested more than 63 people after protesters torched a police facility, tried to storm City Hall and broke windows and ransacked stores.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts reports on the fare hike cancellations in the country’s two largest cities:
Authorities in Brazil’s two biggest cities have made a U-turn on public transport fare increases in the face of mass protests that have overshadowed the country’s build up to next year’s World Cup.
In advance of major demonstrations on Thursday, the leaders of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro announced that bus and subway price rises will be rescinded, but it is far from certain that this will be enough to mollify public unrest.
Although the demonstrations began on a small scale last week in opposition to the fare rises, they have spread rapidly to encompass a variety of frustrations. A quarter of a million people took to the streets in at least 12 cities on Monday to call for better public services, an end to corruption, punishment for police brutality, and less wasteful spending on the World Cup.
Tuesday night protests brought out large numbers
First, a video report from euronews
From the accompanying story:
Around 50,000 flooded the streets of Sao Paulo for another night of protests in Brazil.
One protester explained why they had joined the mass demos:
“It is against the corrupt Brazil that we are living in – health, unemployment, education, everything. Everything’s wrong.”
Another explained, “it’s the fury of an irritated Brazil with this damn corrupt stealing government.”
Riot police struggled to contain the situation in Brazil’s largest city. Shops and banks were vandalised and twenty were arrested for looting.
And from vlogger strainey123, here’s the scene outside the national legislature in Brasilia Tuesday night:
And for some background, here’s a report from The Real News Network featuring a Jaisal Noor interview of expatriate U.S. journalist Julia Michaels, a 30-year resident of Brazil and creator and author of the RioReal Blog:
Hundreds of Thousands of Brazilians Protest Country’s Harsh Inequities
A transcript is posted here.
And, finally, a very important little RT video featuring a very appropriate question.
Should the US be protesting like Brazil?
The program notes:
Massive protests have rocked Brazil this week as the World Cup looms next summer. Demonstrators want to know why billions in public money is funneled away from essential services like education and healthcare, and toward massive sports stadiums. But, how is this problem even worse in the United States. RT Political Commentator Sam Sacks explains.