By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A tense day is expected on Tuesday 13th December in Brazil, with protests being planned around the country while Senators conclude their vote on a bill which would limit increases in public spending to inflation for the next twenty years. Opposition senators also vow to use all regimental rules in their favor to obstruct and delay voting.
In addition, these opposition senators announced they had already asked the Supreme Court to suspend the vote of the bill, claiming the bill was unconstitutional and would especially hurt the poorer sectors of society.
“Brazilians will witness the strangulation of public services and essential infrastructure works during the next decades,” argued Senator Humberto Costa, Workers’ Party (PT) leader in the Senate.
To prevent destruction of public and private properties and ensure the safety of demonstrators, police in the capital city of Brasilia have cordoned off parts of the Ministry Mall leading to Congress. More than six hundred military police officers will be at hand to guarantee a peaceful protest outside the Senate while legislators vote. As cars and trashcans were set alight during last week’s protest, firefighters will also be at hand.
Military police have set up checkpoints, including Brasilia’s main bus terminal, where protesters will be searched. Officials say they want to prevent protesters from bringing to the demonstration flammable devices and sharp objects. Tear gas masks are also prohibited.
According to a survey conducted by Datafolha last week, sixty percent of Brazilians are against the bill, with only 24 percent for it. The rest did not have an opinion or did not know how to respond. The survey, conducted with 2,828 people also revealed that 62 percent believe that the new law will bring more hardship to the country than benefits.
Fifty-three percent of those interviewed said they believe the Brazilian government has enough revenues, but it spends it unwisely. Meanwhile, 36 percent said they believed that public resources were not enough and the resources that were available were badly used.
The bill was approved in the first round on November 29th, by 61 votes to 14. If approved in the second round, it will go to President Temer for sanction.