Letter from Rio
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.