By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Authorities say some 150,000 people took to the streets in downtown Rio de Janeiro yesterday protesting against new legislation which is likely to take oil revenues away from oil-producing states, including Rio state. The protests – which centered on Cinelândia in central Rio – went off peacefully, police said, with no reports of rioting.
The proposal has already been approved by the Senate and will mean royalties paid by oil companies to oil-producing states, such as Rio, São Paulo and Espírito Santo states, and redistribute them nationwide so that non-producing state can benefit from Brazil’s nature resources in a more even way.
Rio State Governor Sérgio Cabral, who has been the face of the long-running battle, did not take to the podium, instead preferring to release a brief statement saying that he “preferred society to express itself.”
However, a number of famous faces did make their presence known, including acclaimed actress Fernanda Montenegro, and famous singers Xuxa and Tony Garrido.
“You cannot start a game and then change the rules in the middle,” actress and presenter Regina Casé said, summing up the point protesters were trying to highlight.
This was the perhaps the largest demonstration in Rio de Janeiro since March 2010 brought a similar number to the streets following the earlier announcement of the then so-called Ibsen Amendment.
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