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Protestors in Brazil Attacked by Police, Chant “Peace is Over Turkey is Here!”
Apparently, Turkey is setting an international example when it comes to police brutality.
Protesters chant ‘Turkey is here!’ in Brazil bus fare demos as police takes hard line
Police have taken an increasingly hard line against the protests, firing rubber bullets and tear gas, injuring several bystanders and journalists covering the demonstrations. One widely circulated image showed police firing pepper spray at a TV cameraman filming the protests in Sao Paulo.
The protests themselves have rallied around opposition to a 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares to the equivalent of about $1.60, leading some pundits to blame them on inflation running at 6.5 percent annually and an economy that has cooled down considerably after last decade’s boom.
Interviews with protesters indicate a wide range of grievances, from rising murder rates to anti-abortion laws to growing frustration with insufficient and overcrowded public transportation.
Many of the protesters in Sao Paulo appeared to be middle-class university students, carrying smartphones and high-end cameras, while local media reported a significant presence of left-wing political parties.
‘Vandalism not acceptable’
After previous protests severely disrupted traffic and damaged storefronts and subway stations in Sao Paulo, a metropolitan area of about 20 million people and Brazil’s financial capital, local authorities promised not to let a tiny group wreak havoc again – a stance supported by editorials in the city’s two largest newspapers.
“Vandalism, violence and obstruction of public roads are not acceptable,” Sao Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin wrote on Twitter on Thursday night as the crackdown was taking place.
“The right to free protest is a basic pillar of democracy. So is the right to come and go and the right to protect public property,” he added.
A survey of Sao Paulo residents by polling firm Datafolha, taken before Thursday night’s protest, indicated that 55 percent of respondents supported the demonstrators, although 78 percent thought they had been too violent.
Mayor says ‘no step back,’ more protests next week
Demonstrators said they planned another march in Sao Paulo for June 17 evening. Twitter and other social media crackled on June13 morning with calls for more students to join upcoming marches.
Sao Paulo’s newly elected mayor, Fernando Haddad, said he would not backtrack on the fare increase, but he also expressed regret over the violence.
“On Tuesday [June 11], I think the image was of violence by the protesters,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately, [June 13], there’s no doubt that the image was of police violence.”
Haddad is a prominent member of Rousseff’s left-leaning Workers’ Party, and finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to confront a cause many in the party support.
Compiled by the Daily News staff from Reuters and wires.