In Brazil, Protests Continue As Some Cities Cut Bus Fares

Jun 19, 2013
Originally published on June 19, 2013 9:33 am

For a second night in a row, tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest everything from the cost of living to government corruption.

The AP reports that during Tuesday's demonstrations:

"More than 50,000 people massed in front of the city's main cathedral. While mostly peaceful, the demonstration followed the rhythm of protests that drew 240,000 people across Brazil the previous night, with small bands of radicals splitting off to fight with police and break into stores.

"Mass protests have been mushrooming across Brazil since demonstrations called last week by a group angry over the high cost of a woeful public transport system and a recent ... hike in bus and subway fares in Sao Paulo, Rio and elsewhere."

The government tried to appease the demonstrators. O Globo reports that 11 cities across the country have lowered bus fares. If you remember, it was that hike that sparked the mass protests.

In São Paolo, Brazil's largest city, Mayor Fernando Haddad said he would rethink a 20-cent increase and meet with the protesters.

"If people make a decision to revoke the price increase, I'll do what they want me to do, because I'm the mayor of the city to do what the city wants me to do," he told the paper.

O Globo adds that in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the biggest protest on Monday, the governor of the state left the door open to revoke a fare increase.

Reuters reports that Tuesday night's demonstrations were "marred by a small group of rioters who smashed the windows of São Paulo's city hall then set fire to a police security post and a TV broadcaster's transmission van."

President Dilma Rousseff, a socialist, gave a speech in Brasilia on Tuesday in which she praised the demonstrations.

"Brazil woke up stronger today," Rousseff said. "The size of yesterday's demonstrations shows the energy of our democracy, the strength of the voice of the streets and the civility of our population."

If you're interested in more, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro wrote a piece about the parallels between the Brazilian protests and those happening a world away in Turkey.

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