The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 20, 2013

Protests planned across Brazil despite concessions

SAO PAULO (AP) — Protests are planned in more than 80 cities across Brazil Thursday, a week after the start of massive demonstrations that have sent hundreds of thousands of people into the streets denouncing poor public services and government corruption.

The biggest protest will likely shake Rio de Janeiro where protesters say they'll march on the iconic Maracana stadium just as a Confederations cup soccer game is getting under way in the afternoon. Protests are also planned in the country's biggest city, Sao Paulo, and towns all over this continent-sized country.

Several city leaders had already given into initial protester demands to revoke an increase in bus and subway fares and are hoping that anti-government anger cools.

In Sao Paulo, protest organizers said they would turn their demonstration into a party celebrating the lower transit fares. But many believe the protests are no longer just about bus fares and have become a cry for systemic changes in a country that's otherwise seen a decade-long economic boom.

The U.S. Embassy in Brazil wasn't taking any chances: It warned its citizens to stay away from the flurry of protests nationwide.

"It's not really about the price anymore," said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student at a Wednesday protest in Rio de Janeiro's sister city of Niteroi. "People are so disgusted with the system, so fed up that now we're demanding change."

Sena added that seeing money poured into soccer stadiums for the current Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup only added fuel to people's anger.

"It's not that we're against the World Cup, not at all. It will bring good things for Brazil. It's just that we're against the corruption that the World Cup has become an excuse for," she said.

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