On Wednesday a group of approximately 50 anti-austerity protesters entered the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies causing chaos and bringing an abrupt end to the session.
The group of protesters, there to denounce a proposed 20-year freeze on all social spending, managed to sneak past security guards and occupy the chamber for three hours chanting “free the country from corruption” before being removed by legislative police.
Wednesday´s protests were just the latest in a wave of protest against Brazilian President Michal Temer´s government, which came to power in August after a parliamentary coup and almost immediately embarked on a harsh austerity agenda. President Temer is facing ongoing accusations of corruption in the massive Petrobras scandal.
In Rio, thousands of public sector employees, among them police and prison guards, demonstrated against a packet of proposals which includes a 30 percent reduction in salary for public servants.
Two months after the end of the Rio Olympics protesters carried signs saying “Olympic Games Rio 2016, Welcome To Hell” and shouted, “the people´s house looks like a jail, and the people are here in the streets, reclaiming their rights.” The demonstration ended as military police launched tear gas and engaged in violent confrontations with dozens of protesters.
The governor of Rio, Luiz Fernando Pezao, defended his proposals saying “the crisis isn´s Rio, it´s Brazil” and that the economic crisis required hard measures.
“It´s not a crisis. It´s robbery. It´s corruption. While they´re cutting public sector salaries, they approved new funding for their favorite sectors. Nothing is by accident,” said one of the protesters, Nara Gonzalves.
The protests continue despite a massive government crackdown on civil society opposition which has seen the arrest of key organizers of Brazil´s Landless Workers Movement. (TeleSur)