By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brasilia’s Ministries Esplanade buildings greeted federal workers today (Wednesday, May 24th) with wooden panels protecting glass door entrances, to avoid possible invasions by demonstrators expected to gather in Brazil’s capital to protest.
On the front of the Agriculture Ministry building, wooden planks blocked all but one entrance, while in the Ministry of the Environment, the entrances were closed with fences. “These measures aim at the preservation of property and, above all, the security of servers and users,” said the press release issued by the Ministry of the Environment on Tuesday.
Trade unions have called demonstrators to gather outside ministries to protest against the social security and labor reforms, currently being discussed in congress. Unions are expecting more than 100,000 to come to the protest. The movement is also calling for the resignation of Brazilian President Michel Temer and new presidential elections.
The Ministry of Planning issued guidelines to its employees in case protesters invade the building. “In case of involuntary confinement, never react,” warns the guidelines, adding that employees should be aware of ‘possible exits’ from their workstation and ‘keep calm so you can accomplish what you need before leaving the work environment’.
In addition, the ministry buildings and Brasilia’s National Cathedral will be cordoned off by military police. Protesters have been prohibited from carrying flag poles (often used to break glass doors and panels), glass bottles as well as sharp or piercing objects.
Last November protesters demonstrating against a bill which limited government spending invaded the Ministry of Education, destroying glass doors and the lobby before being contained by police.