Main | Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BRAZIL: Protests And Riots Rock Major Cities Over Government Spending

Massive protests took place across Brazil last night, partially in reaction to government spending plans for the World Cup and the Rio Olympics. Rioters in Rio De Janeiro set fire to the state legislature building. Protesters claim that social services and aid to the poor are being cut in order promote sports and tourism to Brazil. The New York Times reports:
Sharing a parallel with the antigovernment protests in Turkey, the demonstrations in Brazil intensified after a harsh police crackdown last week stunned many citizens. In images shared widely on social media, the police here were seen beating unarmed protesters with batons and dispersing crowds by firing rubber bullets and tear gas into their midst.

“The violence has come from the government,” said Mariana Toledo, 27, a graduate student at the University of São Paulo who was among the protesters on Monday. “Such violent acts by the police instill fear, and at the same time the need to keep protesting.”

While the demonstration in São Paulo was not marred by the widespread repression that marked a protest here last week, riot police officers in Belo Horizonte dispersed protesters with pepper spray and tear gas. In Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, police officers also used tear gas against protesters.

In Rio de Janeiro, where an independent estimate put the number of protesters around 100,000, televised images showed masked demonstrators trying to storm public buildings including the state legislature, a part of which was set on fire. In Brasilía, the police seemed to be caught off-guard by protesters who danced and chanted on the roof of Congress, a modernist building designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Click the below Vine clip to see last night's protest in Rio.

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