By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The wave of protests that was sparked by an increase in bus fares and took millions of people to the streets across Brazil in June may have lost its initial strength, but it has not disappeared. Protests took place in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo yesterday, interrupting traffic and an assembly session in Rio de Janeiro, where demonstrations turned violent once again.
In Rio, protests took place in front of ALERJ – the legislative assembly for the state of Rio de Janeiro – and were mainly directed against Governor Sérgio Cabral. According to reports, the assembly was in the midst of an ordinary deliberation session when a group of protesters occupied the galleries out of nowhere and started shouting slogans such as “Fora, Cabral” (Out, Cabral).
The session was subsequently suspended and did not continue at a later point. Around twenty people were said to have occupied the city council’s plenary halls. Police used pepper spray to prevent more people from entering the building. The protesters-turned-occupiers had not left the premises by 9PM.
Around eighty officers from the Military Police were at the scene and around a thousand protesters were said to have attended the demonstration.
Military Police reportedly searched people with backpacks for Molotov cocktails, as recent demonstrations in front of the state government’s seat in Laranjeiras during the visit of Pope Francis had turned violent.
Later in the evening, the demonstration escalated again as a group of protesters invaded a bank agency and threw stones into the building that houses businessman Eike Batista‘s holding company, EBX. Nearby Hotel Windsor Astoria had to close its doors.
In São Paulo, around 300 members of the civil police took to the street to demand better salaries and working conditions. They marched towards the Secretariat of Public Security in the center of the city, blocking several streets along the way. The protest began with a civil police “blackout,” a suspension of civil police services that affected the entire state between 10AM and 2PM.
The Secretariat published a note affirming their respect towards the protests, but also said the entire police corps had already received salary increases of 27.7 percent in the last two years.
The police in São Paulo had already taken to the streets on Monday, July 29th, creating a similar standstill in police operations. According to reports, police delegations remained open, but police officers were not providing services.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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