Brazil – President Dilma Rousseff addressed the media in a 10-minute briefing about the recent and ongoing protests. Her silence remained criticized since the start of the protests.
Rousseff during the prime time speech spoke about her generation’s struggles in a battling dictatorship and connected it to the youth’s widespread anti government protest. She did not detail how changes would be implemented, but did promise to address the battle of corruption and make improvements to the urban transport system.
During her speech, she indicated that a meeting with leaders of the protest movement, mayor and governors of larger cities in Brazil, would be held. There is no clarity on who could represent the enormous decentralized group of demonstrations. She told the media, a national plan to create public transportation would be addressed. The increase in fares in many cities is cited as the original complaint of the protestors. Rousseff said she had a backing plan to invest all oil revenue royalties into education and would take this to congress.
She promised to bring in foreign doctors to areas where health care was a fundamental problem. She referred to the deep corruption in the Brazilian government and wants institutions to be more transparent in future. The appalling public services and high tax burden are the leading cause of the protesters taking to the streets and venting their anger toward the government.
“My generation fought a lot so that the voice of the streets could be heard,” Rousseff said. “Many were persecuted, tortured, and many died for this. The voice of the street must be heard and respected, and it can’t be confused with the noise and truculence of some troublemakers.”
She said it is the citizenship and not the economic power that must be first heard.
The president’s speech received mixed reviews from the citizens of Brazil. A 61-year-old male of Flamengo neighborhood said it was her years in spent exile that facilitated her to deliver a calm and persuasive speech. He said the protests should calm down although isolated incidents will continue.
An 18-year-old store clerk in Sao Paulo said Rousseff’s words would not have an impact on the passionate people of Brazil. She said this demonstration was different, she does not think it would end soon, and people will continue to protest until positive changes occur.
Over one million anti government demonstrators took to the streets nationwide on Thursday night to protest against the poor public services and billions of dollars spent preparing for next year’s World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The protests continued into Friday with looting and minimal damage caused. The police continued to disperse the crowds with tear gas, but the protesters pelted them with rocks. It was reported that some of the demonstrators were armed and firing shots at the police.
The Brazilian President’s speech out about protests remain a guessing game for the citizens as they continue to discern the true meaning of her message.
Written by Laura Oneale