Ro de Janeiro, Brazil – 24/06/2013 – as published by The Christian Science Monitor. By Olivia Crellin and Steven Bodzin RIO DE JANEIRO; AND SANTIAGO, CHILE — Across the Americas, and even at home in Brazil, many were surprised by the quick surge in protests that brought millions to the streets in 80 cities across […] Read more
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a series of reforms on Friday night in an attempt to put an end to days of nationwide protests against government corruption and poor public transportation, health care and education. In an address broadcast on TV and radio, Rousseff said she had an obligation to listen to the voices of the people on the streets, but that a dialogue needed to be established between protesters and the government. “I’m going to meet with the leaders of the peaceful protests,” Rousseff said. “I want institutions that are more transparent, more resistant to wrongdoing.”
Protests continued across Brazil on Sunday, capping a week of unrest that saw more than 1 million people marching across the vast country demanding an end to corruption and social inequity. More than 60,000 marched over the weekend, and a major protest is scheduled next Sunday for the final in Rio of the Confederation Cup soccer tournament, a run-up to next year’s World Cup and 2016’s Olympic Games, which are being held in Brazil.
In Tunisia a flower-seller set himself on fire. In Turkey protesters gathered to protect a local park. Now in Brazil, an increase of 20 cents (£0.90) to the cities’ bus fares has brought tens of thousands of protesters to the streets of 23 major cities, including Rio de Janeiro, in the biggest protests to hit the country in the last 20 years.
“It’s not about the bus fare,” said Rogerio Luiz, a 45-year-old analyst. “We are tired of what is happening to the people: the violence, the corruption, poor healthcare, the high cost of living. We are not getting a service from our government.”
On Monday afternoon around 100,000 people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Some had just left the office and were dressed in suits, while others in the packed crowd danced to brass bands, draped in Brazilian flags and holding flowers.
But this was no Carnival: this was the moment Brazilians woke up to the poor infrastructure and widespread government corruption crippling their country.
Poverty in the favelas of the northern Brazilian city of Recife is the main driver for a life in prostitution. Brazil plays host to the World Cup soccer tournament in June 2014, which will likely lead to an increase in demand for sex workers.
Amanda sits curled up on the sofa watching cartoons on television. She will soon turn 14, but her youth belies her past. The young girl has suffered two abortions already, the result of exchanging unprotected, adolescent sex for a pack of cigarettes or a couple of dollars. “My life was complicated. I was on the streets and taking drugs,” she says.
AS BRAZIL’S football team beat Italy on June 22nd to secure a place in the Confederations Cup semi-finals, Brazilians were out again on the streets of more than 100 cities. Though the weekend saw more marches than on previous days, the demonstrations were more sparsely attended than earlier protests. Indeed, the weekend seemed almost quiet compared with June 20th, when an estimated 1.5m people took to the streets to protests against ropy infrastructure, poor public services and corruption.