News Column

Brazilian President Proposes Reforms as Demonstrations Continue

June 25, 2013

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met Monday with protest leaders as demonstrations continued on the streets of Brazil.

Scrambling to take react to escalating tension, Rousseff on Monday proposed a national referendum on political reform after she met separately with mayors and governors.

She proposed a five-point plan including improvements to public transportation, health care and education, while vowing to crack down on corruption.

Rousseff pledged to invest 25 billion dollars in public transport, the BBC reported.

Two protesters died Monday after being struck by a car as they tried to set up a roadblock in Cristalina, about 130 kilometers from the capital. The driver, who fled the scene, was being sought by police.

Monday's fatalities bring the death toll to four since protests began last week.

Demonstrators set a bus on fire in Cubatao in Sao Paolo state.

In Belo Horizonte, where police were increasing security ahead of the first Confederations Cup semi-final between Brazil and Uruguay on Wednesday, protesters blocked several main roads.

Police deployed pepper spray at one of the city's bus depots after demonstrators built a blockade preventing about 100 buses from leaving the location.

The protests broke last week out in Sao Paolo over a hike in bus fares, but demonstrators have broadened their grievances to include official corruption and public spending policy.

Money spent hosting international sporting events - with Brazil hosting the ongoing Confederations Cup, next year's football World Cup and the 2016 Olympics - should go to education, health care and other social needs, protestors have said.

Further protests are expected this week after more than 1 million people took to the streets on Friday.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH