26 June, 2013Over one million Brazilians have taken to the streets to demand social justice for all in the growing economy.
Poor quality of public transportation was the final issue that sparked the unprecedented wave of protests through Latin America’s largest economy. The angry public reaction to the increase in fare prices for the bus, metro and train brought people to the streets. The aggressive reaction of the police to these manifestations then exploded the situation last week, with over one million demonstrators in 100 cities on 20 June alone.
Workers, especially young workers, throughout Brazil are tired of being made victims of poor urban mobility policy, and now demand that government jointly discuss with transport providers to find solutions to the problems. Demonstrators are calling for quality education, quality health care, quality transportation, but also quality conditions of employment, fair wages, and reduced working hours.
Brazil is a different case to the social uprisings seen elsewhere around the world in recent times. Brazil has a democratic government, a healthy and growing economy that is generating jobs, and increasing minimum and average wages. However the quality of life for residents of Brazil’s large cities is not seen to be improving, and those people resent the large sums of public money spent on the upcoming Olympic Games and Football World Cup.
President Dilma Rousseff stated that her government is listening to the messages and proposed an emergency plan to resolve the main problems: combat corruption, political reform, education, health and public transportation.
IndustriALL Executive Committee member Monica Veloso, Vice President of CNTM stated:
It is wonderful to live in a democracy and exercise the right to assemble and shout in the streets, those rights were hard-won by Brazilians. But our revolution must begin at home and in the community, it is our own responsibility.
Valter Sanchez, of the Metalworkers Union of ABC / CNM-CUT, told the USi:
The protestors are young people, and we as unions welcome all the young people who are finally learning to fight for their rights, fight for their agenda. We as unions decided to join the protests and are taking part in the protests. It is a horizontal movement without leaders and social organizations behind them.
All Brazilian trade unions have condemned the police violence, as hundreds of participants were injured especially in São Paulo while the police are trying to avoid destruction of public facilities by provocateurs infiltrating the demonstrations. The Brazilian trade unions were central protagonists in the fight to bring down the military regime in 1964.