News Column

Brazil Protests Sparked by Fare Hikes, Police Violence

June 18, 2013

Thousands of protesters rallied across Brazil, demonstrating against issues ranging from higher bus fares to police violence, witnesses said.

Organizers coordinated marches Monday in several major cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, the national capital where some protesters group shimmied onto the roof of Congress, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Sao Paulo, more than 65,000 people clogged the main thoroughfares of the city in the fifth and largest protest in two weeks organized by the "Free Fare Movement" against a 10-cent hike in the city's bus fare, activists said. Support for the group has grown since a widely publicized crackdown by military police Thursday injured 120 protesters and some journalists.

"I think we're seeing something that started with the legitimate complaint about the bus fare, but now it's clear we're now seeing a more general dissatisfaction, especially amongst the young," said Laurindo Leal Filho, a sociology professor at the University of Sao Paulo.

"But the main reason for the big jump in support is the abuses of the police, who've showed they have no idea how to deal with social movements," Leal Filho said. "That's why I'm going to protest myself."

The Times did not include information about any arrests or injuries.

Two weeks ago, the Sao Paulo bus fare for a standard one-way trip rose to about $1.50. Minimum-wage workers who take two buses a day could spend more than one-quarter of their monthly income for transportation, the Times said.

"The price of our bus system is absurd," said Josi Paixao, who marched in Sao Paulo Monday. "We're trying to make life more accessible for regular Brazilians."





Source: Copyright UPI 2013


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