The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 19, 2013

Protesters out again in Brazilian cities

(Continued)

On Tuesday night, tens of thousands of Brazilians flooded the streets of the country's biggest city, Sao Paulo, to express their grievances. While mostly peaceful, the demonstration followed the rhythm of mobilizations that drew some 240,000 people across Brazil the previous night, with small bands of radicals splitting off to fight with police and break into stores.

Fernando Grella Vieira, head of the Sao Paulo state public safety department, said 63 people were detained during Tuesday's protests. He told the Globo TV network on Wednesday that police would guarantee the right to demonstrate but would "repress all forms of vandalism."

Local governments in at least four cities have responded to the unrest by agreeing to reverse bus and subway fare hikes, and city and federal politicians have shown signs that the Sao Paulo fare could also be rolled back. It's not clear that will calm the country, though, with the protests already expanding to take on a wide range of other issues.

Beyond complaints about transit fares, protesters haven't produced any concrete demands, mainly venting their anger at not just the government of President Dilma Rousseff, but with the entire governing system. A common chant at the rallies has been "No parties!"

"What I hope comes from these protests is that the governing class comes to understand that we're the ones in charge, not them, and the politicians must learn to respect us," said Yasmine Gomes, a 22-year-old squeezed into the plaza in central Sao Paulo where Tuesday night's protest began.

Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured during Brazil's 1964-85 dictatorship, hailed the protests for raising questions and strengthening Brazil's democracy. "Brazil today woke up stronger," she said in a statement.

Yet Rousseff offered no actions that her government might take to address complaints.

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