By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Report
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — About one thousand protesters gathered on the main streets of Rio de Janeiro’s downtown neighborhood yesterday to demonstrate against last week’s R$0.25 increase in the city’s bus fares. Demonstrators gathered in front of the Candelária church and marched down avenues Presidente Vargas and Rio Branco, located in front of Rio’s City Hall, at around 7PM Thursday evening.
The city of Rio de Janeiro’s decision to readjust fares on its public buses from R$2.75 to R$3 on the first week of February has stirred a strong reaction from Cariocas, who rose up against a R$0.20 increase in bus rides last year, forcing the city to revoke the higher fare.
Last Monday, two groups of about 500 gathered at two points of the neighborhood: in Central do Brasil, the city’s main mass transit hub, and in front of the Candelária church to protest against the R$0.25 increase that went into effect on the first week of February. Monday’s rally resulted in two arrests. Security at the scene yesterday was tightened with the presence of at least fifty military police officers.
Some protesters carried “I want my R$150” posters, an ironic response to rumors that allege protesters are being paid to participate in demonstrations. Various activist groups were present. One such group wore yellow shirts that went by the name of “juntos,” together in Portuguese, who marched with signs demanding an end to oil field auctions and signs accusing the press of fascism.
Last week’s demonstrations at Central do Brasil ended in tragedy with a TV Bandeirantes cameraman and correspondent getting fatally struck by a firecracker allegedly thrown by a protester.
Caio Silva de Souza admitted to TV Globo that he launched the explosive that ended up killing cameraman Santiago Andrade after being identified by his tattoo artist in security camera footage. Protests have risen in other parts of Brazil in recent days. Violent clashes between members of the Landless Workers’ Movement and police left 42 injured in Brasília on Wednesday.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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