The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 20, 2013

Protests planned across Brazil despite concessions

(Continued)

Mass protests are rare in this 190 million-person country, with demonstrations generally attracting small numbers of politicized participants.

Many now marching in Brazil's streets hail from the growing middle class, which government figures show has ballooned by some 40 million people over the past decade amid a commodities-driven boom.

While the complaints of protesters are wide-ranging, there have been few answers about how to turn the disgruntlement into a coherent list of demands with which to confront the government.

In announcing the reversal of the fare hike, Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad said it "will represent a big sacrifice and we will have to reduce investments in other areas." He didn't give details on where other cuts would occur.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes also said his city's fare increase would be rescinded.

Despite that, scattered street demonstrations sprang up Wednesday in some parts of Brazil, including well into the night in Niteroi, as protesters continued to call for better public services in return for high taxes and rising prices.

About 200 people also blocked the Anchieta Highway that links Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, and the port of Santos before heading to the industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo on Sao Paulo's outskirts. Another group of protesters later obstructed the highway again.

In the northeastern city of Fortaleza, 15,000 protesters clashed with police who kept them from reaching the Castelao stadium before Brazil's game with Mexico in the Confederations Cup.

"We are against a government that spends billions in stadiums while people are suffering across the country," said Natalia Querino, a 22-year-old student participating in the protest. "We want better education, more security and a better health system."

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