More than a million Brazilians protest against ‘horror’ government

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 03/13/2016

More than a million Brazilians have joined anti-government rallies across the country, ramping up the pressure on embattled president Dilma Rousseff.

Already struggling with an impeachment challenge, the worst recession in a century and the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history, the Workers party leader was given another reason to doubt she will complete her four-year term.

The demonstrations on Sunday – which reached all 26 states and the federal district – were expected to be bigger than similar rallies last year. The largest took place in São Paulo, where the polling company Datafolha estimated the crowd at 450,000, more than double the number it registered last year.

Read More…

Brazilians March in Sao Paulo to Demand Political Reform

, 11/04/2014

Brazilians demand Rousseff fulfill her campaign promise to hold a referendum on political reform in the country. Dozens of social movements and organizations took to the streets of Sao Paulo Tuesday to demand a referendum to install Constituent Assembly that would pave the way for a reform of the Brazilian political and electoral system.

This proposal was made in June 2013 by President Dilma Rousseff, following the mass demonstrations across the country sparked by proposed bus fare increases. However, the moved was opposed in Brazil’s Congress and was not passed.  In September, the 482 social organizations and trade unions collected 7.7 million signatures in favor of a Constitutional Referendum.

The organizations also convened a popular plebiscite on a referendum, mobilizing nearly 6.95 million votes at polls in addition to millions who participated through an internet poll. More than 97 percent of those who participated favored a plebiscite for a constitutional reform. A total of 7.75 million people participated in the referendum.

Read more… 

Remember Brazil’s World Cup Protests?

Geoffrey Ramsey – Pan American Post, 10/31/2014

Remember “Não vai ter copa” and the concerns among international media that protests would overshadow the World Cup games this June/July? As it happened, turnout at the demonstrations was far lower than many expected, and the overall legacy of the event was largely unaffected.

But there may have been a reason for that. The initial round of protests in World Cup host cities in the first days of the Cup was met by a harsh crackdown by the state-level Military Police (PM), especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the former, local human rights group Conectas criticized the police for restricting civil liberties and acting as if a “state of emergency” had been declared, and journalists in Rio de Janeiro clearly captured footage of Rio PM officers brandishing guns and firing live ammunition to break up protests.

Considering the disproportionately repressive police response to the demonstrations, it’s no wonder that they failed to gather critical mass. Indeed, this may have been an unspoken part of these states’ security strategy all along.

Read more…