Tuesday, June 18th 2013 - 07:27 UTC

Protests in Brazil against profligate spending and poor services extend to major cities

Demonstrators clashed with police in central Rio do Janeiro on Monday evening as more than 200,000 people turned out to the streets of major Brazilian cities to protest the billions of dollars spent on the Confederations Cup, higher public transport costs, corruption and poor services.

Rio and Porto Alegre city halls were attacked and Congress in Brasilia occupied for a few hours

The nationwide demonstrations, the largest and most extensive in two decades since the unrest began 10 days ago, were relatively peaceful. However acts of vandalism were reported in Rio and Porto Alegre in south Brazil.

Police used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse small groups of masked youths engaging in acts of vandalism near Rio's state legislative assembly. Some of the young people broke into the building and television showed a small fire.

Five policemen were reported hurt as 80 others holed up inside the assembly building which was surrounded by rowdy demonstrators. Police could be seen around a vehicle masked vandals had set on fire.

Elsewhere in Rio, a host city for the Confederations Cup, police said around 100,000 marched, notably down Rio's central Rio Branco Avenue.

In Brasilia, more than 200 youths briefly occupied the roof of the National Congress.

But after negotiations with police, the boisterous crowd agreed to leave, chanting and waving placards as security forces ringed the building. Some of the protesters called for the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff.

Later, an estimated 5,000 youths formed a human chain around the Congress building.

In Sao Paulo, the country's economic capital and most populous city, an estimated 65,000 staged a generally peaceful march, with no repetition so far of the violence that marred similar protests last week.

“Peaceful demonstrations are legitimate,” said Rousseff in a bid to calm tempers. “It is natural for the young to demonstrate,” she said in a statement posted on the presidency's blog.

In the south some 3,000 rallied outside Porto Alegre's City Hall, where police intervened after acts of vandalism by youths who set a bus on fire.

Some 30,000 protesters marched in Belo Horizonte, while smaller demonstrations were held in Fortaleza, Salvador and other cities.

Earlier, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo warned that that authorities would not allow the protests to disrupt international football tournaments Brazil has pledged to host -- the Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup.

“The government assumed the responsibility and the honor to stage these two international events and will do so, ensuring the security and integrity of the fans and tourists,” Rebelo said.

But the spreading unrest is tainting the image of promising and emerging Brazil as it hosts the Confederation Cup through June 30, in a dry run for the World Cup.

The protests over a hike in mass transit fares from $1.5 to $1.6 began ten days ago in Sao Paulo, days before the opening of the Confederations Cup. The tournament brings together eight national teams from around the world in six Brazilian host cities.

The unrest rapidly spread to other cities with demonstrators focusing their anger not just on the transport fares but also on the 15 billion dollars the government is allocating for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup.

The demonstrators want these resources to be earmarked instead for health care and quality education in a country with vast economic disparity between rich and poor.

On Saturday an 1,000 of them managed to break through a security perimeter and protest outside the gate of Brasilia's national stadium during the Confederations Cup's opening game, in which Brazil trounced Japan 3-0. Sunday, 3,000 people tried to break into Rio's renovated Maracana stadium where Italy defeated Mexico 2-1.

The Rio protesters, mostly middle-class youths, railed against the police crackdown in Rio, Brasilia and above all Sao Paulo, where more than 230 people were briefly detained and about 100, including journalists, hurt last week.

The unrest comes as Brazil is experiencing anemic growth, 0.6% in the first quarter, while inflation reached an annualized 6.5% in May, the upper limit of the official target, and with not much chances of improvement according to public opinion polls.

The disappointing indicators have dented the popularity of President Dilma Rousseff, particularly among the youngest and wealthiest Brazilians, recent polls show. Rousseff was jeered in Brasilia Saturday as she inaugurated the tournament, although she retains high popularity and is favored to win re-election next year

However in the immediate the massive protests and demonstrations outside stadiums and in major cities questions Brazil’s capacity to ensure a safe and peaceful surrounding for the Confederation Cup and next month when the Pope visits Rio for the world youth gathering.

14 comments Feed

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1 ChrisR (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 11:10 am Report abuse
Getting more like The Dark Country every day by the look of it but instead of banging pots it's 'youths' (no females?) taking over goverment property.
2 Tobers (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 01:30 pm Report abuse
Oh dear. Its all kicking off. Looks like Brazil has had the same 'Decade Won' as Argentina. The holes are getting bigger and bigger and just before the World Cup. It' s not looking good. People from different social strata are united in their disapproval of the government. And many of us were using Brazil as a positive example to the region just a few months ago! I guess we should have taken our cue from the way that Brazil deals with Argentina and the other Bolivarian states.
3 yankeeboy (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 01:40 pm Report abuse
I find it particularly funny that anyone though a Marxist Guerrilla would have any idea how to run an economy.

Brazil the country of the future...
never ever the present
4 GeoffWard2 (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 02:08 pm Report abuse
'The Rio protesters, mostly middle-class youths, railed against the police crackdown in Rio, Brasilia and above all Sao Paulo ..'

Would these be Brasilian middle class or eg UK middle class? - there is a huge difference.
And would these Brasilian youths be tax-payers?
Like the whole world over, likely most are registered as 'student' at the local university campuses. And what's wrong with a bit of protest marching; many of us did it. But arson is unacceptible, and being run down by police motorbikes is also unacceptible.

Probably they are tax beneficiaries but not tax payers.

Some will be there decrying the spend of the people's money on anything other than them .... though they are the major attendees at the football matches.

Yes, I'm well used to the mind block that prefers the grey life of a socialist existence where the Bolsa pays for their food (grow-your-own in rural Brasil is dying out fast), and education comes free (inasmuch as it is not paid for by them but by taxpayers).

Quality of life is NOT a free good in an increasingly urban society like Brasil.
Even Carnival comes at a cost. Football and the olympics welcome the world to a country which is 'far away' and relatively tourist-poor.
For people to come again - or even stay and invest their money, like me - you have to attract them there a first time.
Brasil's tourist infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped and the immigration processes are horrendous;
getting more people there for a first time is the name of the game ...
winning their return to add income to the national coffers benefits every Brasilian - tax-payer and tax-beneficiary alike.

Be thankful, my Brasil, that your street protests are not like those of Syria.
5 Math (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 03:28 pm Report abuse
The left started the movement and now backfired: people are angry at the PT's judicial reforms like (PEC 37), angry at assistencialism, angry at Dilma and Lula, people booed PSOL and PSTU massively, specially in Porto Alegre where the riots are definetely against corruption and governement spending. Gauchos rejected the passe livre idea, only demanded for increasing the quality of the transport. Next capitals are Teresina and Sao Luis and they are not about “Passe livre” anymore, just more quality of the service. It became an anti-corruption movement with shades of anarchy, no ideologies, no party flags at all, and it is spreading in the whole country, even smaller cities.
6 ChrisR (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 04:27 pm Report abuse
From the previous two contributors it doesn't look like it's going to end well.
7 Fido Dido (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 04:49 pm Report abuse
“However acts of vandalism were reported in Rio and Porto Alegre in south Brazil.”
And that's why they, the protesters, lost their argument. They, the protesters who use/used violence are nothing more than a bunch of losers (poor mindset).

“I find it particularly funny that anyone though a Marxist Guerrilla would have any idea how to run an economy.”

I find it particularly funny that their are still ideologues here in the US and still can't understand that the country is ruled by a Fascist government that only has ideas how to run the economy into the ground and make the people slaves for the rest of their lives. Grow up Mexican yankee dickhead and stop drinking the kool-aid that makes you believe that we are better off here.

“Brasil's tourist infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped and the immigration processes are horrendous”
But the protesters are bitching that they are spending on infrastructures that suppose to improve the tourist industry and after the world cup..geez..
Immigration process is a nightmare, but what is your solution, because they can't handle an immigration process where the door is wide open..Do you want Brazil to become like the US where the illegal aliens (mainly.. 90%) from EL MEHICO (yankeemoron) are flooding the system and demand free greencards and direct access to become a US citizen to get benefits?

Those Brazilians have to make up their mind when it comes to investing in public transportation. And let's be fair here, Brazilians always bitched about the corruption, but they keep voting for the same idiots in their local government, state government and federal government....(gee sounds familiar for where I am..bla bla bla bla and keep voting for the same clowns over and over who are the problem according to the protesters)..So what is their solution?

“The left started the movement and now backfired”
The problem of the leftwing idiot youth is that they want everyting free. The so called right there are ideologues (losers).
8 yankeeboy (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 06:09 pm Report abuse
Fido, If you don't like your chosen homeland I suggest you go back to whatever horrible place you originated.
My family has been in New England for almost 400 years and I find it revolting that a new immigrant bashes the USA as you do on a daily basis.
You are truly a disgusting individual void of any decency.
9 ChrisR (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 06:22 pm Report abuse
8 yankeeboy

In common with the lack of intellect, the Dildo also lacks a green card.
10 yankeeboy (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 06:32 pm Report abuse
He's probably angry because he's unemployable in a legal job. It is a hard life when you are illegal in the USA.
11 GeoffWard2 (#) Jun 18th, 2013 - 06:46 pm Report abuse
I think I know you.
Goes all well with you?
12 Math (#) Jun 19th, 2013 - 01:35 am Report abuse
@11 I'm fine, but I think we don't know each other. Hahaha
13 Math (#) Jun 19th, 2013 - 03:34 am Report abuse
Next Dilma's move to regain popularity?
14 GeoffWard2 (#) Jun 19th, 2013 - 09:25 am Report abuse
Good pic;-), my old friend from Unicamp.
15 Math (#) Jun 19th, 2013 - 02:12 pm Report abuse
@14 Oh, I'm not him. :)

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