Brazil Continues Anti-Government Protests

Football World Cup, Germany 2006 - Game 33: Ecuador - Germany

After the protest began,on first day of the Confederation Cup, Brazilians continued their demonstrations against the government in Rio de Janerio. On Thursday, June 20th, they continued marching on the streets, queued in thousands despite government warnings. While 300,000 people expressed their wrath in Rio de Janerio, hundreds of thousands more flooded other cities.

The protesters began on the day of Confederation Cup inauguration and tried to block roads and stadium-goers that were headed to Mane Garrincha stadium. And now the protests are fuelled by events displaying dissatisfaction a bit more. According to the countrymen, the government cajoled them to support promotion of FIFA World Cup. Their money helped the government to complete their stadiums, hotels and other accessories. And still they are deprived of proper education, health, food and medicine. Clearly they want the authorities to cut the expenses and do something for the people. The Brazilians are reportedly telling people not to come to Brazil during World Cup!

On Thursday, protesters marched around two international stadiums where matches were about to start; they continued their protest for better public services and against the raise in transport fare.

“Twenty cents was just the start,” read signs held by many converging along the Avenida Paulista, the broad avenue in central Sao Paulo, referring to the bus fare increse. Police there said more than 100,000 people lined the avenue.

While the protests remain mostly non-violent, the growing number of participants made them more tense than previous demonstrations. In the capital, Brasilia, ten thousand protesters marched around the landmark modernist buildings that houses Congress and the Supreme Court and briefly set fire to the outside of the Foreign Ministry building. The first protest was more violent than this as people were more incensed; they’ve burnt tires, and raised placards to show off their anti-government protest.

But still some protests went viral as police used tear gases, pepper sprays and even rubber bullets to breakup the protest as protesters became aggressive. The policemen even made barricades to shun the mass of people; they  seemed helpless as people continued their demonstraions.

And people showed their protest even inside the stadium where Brazil’s national team was slated to play a match against Mexico. Inside Rio’s iconic Maracanã stadium, soccer fans sang protest songs and showed support for the throngs of demonstrators gathering in the city. The supports inside stadium confirmed their supports for countrymen and street protests.  In Salvador, a northeastern city hosting another game of the soccer tournament that serves as a World Cup test run, protesters clashed with police, who fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

“What am I protesting for?” asked Savina Santos, a 29-year-old civil servant in Sao Paulo. “You should ask what I’m not protesting for! We need political reform, tax reform, an end to corruption, better schools, and better transportation. We are not in a position to be hosting the World Cup.”

As the waves of protest stimulated and stirred the country the president Dilma Rousseff is now compelled to postpone his trip to Japan. The president can’t shirk away the responsibilities if people are injured during the protest. The local media is reporting many minor injuries caused by policemen during protest; many were wounded by rubber bullets.

So, Brazil continues anti-government protests against expenses, government policies and others that are violating their human rights. Confederation Cup matches are going on while countrymen are raising their voices to increase public services.

Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul

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