Radio Sandwell News

President summons Brazil cabinet over protests

2013-06-24 03:44:23

The protests continue to grow larger and angrier

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff is holding an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the country's most widespread unrest in two decades.

Protests began more than a week ago over transport fare rises, but they are now also directed at corruption and the cost of next year's football World Cup.

More than a million people are reported to have taken part in demonstrations on Thursday in about 100 cities.

One man died when a car drove through a barricade in Sao Paulo state.

President Rousseff called off a trip to Japan to deal with the crisis.

Correspondents say there is speculation she will make a national radio address after Friday's meeting in the capital, Brasilia.

Rubber bullets

Ms Rousseff initially praised the demonstrators, saying she was proud so many people were fighting for a better country.

She has since sought to distance herself from the protests

Brazil in 90 seconds From price rises to protests

On Thursday night, protesters tried to storm the foreign ministry in Brasilia. They were driven back by police, who fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

In Rio de Janeiro, at least 29 people were reported injured after clashes between riot police and groups of masked young men trying to approach city hall.

TV footage showed gangs looting shops in the city centre - although many shopkeepers and banks had put up wooden hoardings to protect their premises.

There were also clashes in the north-eastern city of Salvador; in Porto Alegre, in the south; and in Campinas, north of Sao Paulo.

The protests, originally triggered by an increase in bus fares on 2 June, have since grown into a much wider movement.

Protesters are angry at corruption and poor public services, as well as the huge cost of next year's football World Cup, saying the government should also invest in education and healthcare.

Dilma Rousseff
Ms Rousseff initially praised the demonstrators but has
now distanced herself

Sao Paulo, Rio, Recife and Joao Pessoa are among the cities to have reversed the fare increases.

However, Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad warned the move was a "big sacrifice", which meant investments would have to be cut.

Some of the protests have targeted the Confederations Cup, the eight-team tournament which is considered a dry run for next year's World Cup.

Demonstrators have expressed their anger at steep ticket prices and the money spent on both tournaments, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, which Rio de Janeiro is hosting.

Football's world governing body, Fifa, has strongly rejected Brazilian media speculation that the Confederations Cup could be cancelled.

No matches are for scheduled for Friday. Play is due to resume on Saturday with Italy facing Brazil in Salvador and Japan playing Mexico in Belo Horizonte.


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