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Protests in Brazil over bus fare hike
January 17, 2015, 5:45 am

 

A member of the anarchist Black Bloc group, whose radical members took position at the front of the crowd during protests in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 16, 2015 [Xinhua]

A member of the anarchist Black Bloc group, whose radical members took position at the front of the crowd during protests in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 16, 2015 [Xinhua]

Thousands of protestors in Sao Paolo, Brazil rallied against the government’s latest round of fare hikes on Friday. Clashes were reported with the police deployed to disperse the protestors who want the hike eliminated or lowered.

Local police estimates put the size of the protesting crowd at 3000. A least one person has been arrested so far after a group of protesters threw fireworks at police officers outside Sao Paulo’s city hall, a police spokeswoman said. The protestor arrested is a member of the anarchist Black Bloc group, whose radical members took position at the front of the crowd.

Bus fares rose from 3 reais to 3.50 reais ($1.15 to $1.34) last week.

The protests were organized by the Free Pass movement, the force behind the 2013 protests that rocked Brazil.

In Brazil’s big cities like Sao Paolo transport has become a focus of fury about government corruption, inefficiency and inequality.

Bus price increases were the spark for the huge protests in more than 80 cities last June, prompting governments to postpone the fare hike and promise more spending on transport. Brazil is struggling to revive economic growth that has come to a standstill from 7.5 per cent growth in 2010.

By hosting mega-sporting events like the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the government had vowed to accelerate a $400 billion plan to upgrade airports, subways, roads and bus links.

During the swearing ceremony for her second term earlier this month, President Dilma Rousseff said she will tighten Brazil’s budget, increase investment and productivity in an effort to restart economic growth, while minimizing “sacrifices” by the population.

“We will prove that economic adjustments are possible without revoking acquired rights or betraying our social obligations,” Rousseff said.

 

TBP and Agencies

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