Brazil protests: Dilma Rousseff unveils reforms

 

Dilma Rousseff spoke on national television

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has unveiled a series of reforms in an attempt to end days of nationwide anti-government protests.

In a televised address she said she would draft a new plan to benefit public transport and that all oil royalties would be used in education.

She also said that thousands of doctors would be drafted in from overseas to improve the national health service.

Earlier she held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the protests.

The demonstrations began over transport fare rises in Sao Paulo, but quickly grew into rallies across the country against corruption and other issues.

On Thursday night more than a million people took to the streets and there was violence in various cities in which dozens were injured and two people died.

Protests continued on Friday with an estimated 1,000 people marching in Rio de Janeiro.

Start Quote

I want institutions that are more transparent, more resistant to wrongdoing”

End Quote Dilma Rousseff Brazilian president

Witnesses said some stores were looted and an empty arts centre building was invaded. Police were pelted with rocks and responded with tear gas.

Demonstrations also took place in Sao Paulo, where traffic was brought to a halt but no violence was reported, and in Fortaleza in Brazil's north-east.

In her address - pre-recorded and broadcast nationally on TV and radio - Mrs Rousseff said she was listening to the demonstrators' concerns.

She promised to meet the leaders of the peaceful protests saying she needed "their contribution, their energy and their ability".

Football anger

The BBC's Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says President Rousseff struck a conciliatory note for the most challenging speech she has had to make as Brazil's leader.

"I want institutions that are more transparent, more resistant to wrongdoing," she said.

Young people march next in Belo Horizonte, 21 June 2013 What began as a local protest about transport has grown to engulf Brazil and encompass other issues

She also defended hosting next year's football World Cup saying Brazil had always been welcomed in international events.

"We will treat our guests with respect and make a great World Cup," she said.

Answering criticism of the cost of hosting the event, she said the World Cup would be financed by companies that are making use of the sporting arenas.

"I would never allow this money to come out of the taxpayers' money, harming essential areas such as health and education," she said.

Some of the protests have targeted the Confederations Cup, the eight-team tournament currently taking place which is considered a dry run for next year's World Cup.

Demonstrators have expressed their anger at steep ticket prices and the money spent on both tournaments, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games, which Rio de Janeiro is hosting.

Football's world governing body, Fifa, has strongly rejected Brazilian media speculation that the Confederations Cup could be cancelled.

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Belem

Protesters in Belem

In the city of Belem - at the mouth of the Amazon River - riot police clashed with stone-throwing protesters. Demonstrators also hung protest banners and flags on City Hall.

Brasilia

Protesters in Brasilia

In the capital Brasilia, demonstrators targeted government buildings around the city's central esplanade. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try to scatter the crowds.

Belo Horizonte

Protesters in Belo Horizonte

Police and protesters clashed in the eastern city of Belo Horizonte, which hosted a game in the Confederations Cup - the warm-up tournament for the World Cup.

Sao Paulo

Protesters in Sao Paulo

The widespread demonstrations taking place across the country followed a police crackdown on smaller protests in Sao Paulo, which galvanized Brazilians to take to the streets. The city saw thousands gather once again near the city's landmark Avenida Paulista late on Thursday.

Fortaleza

At least 30,000 people rallied in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza ahead of the Confederations Cup game with Mexico this week. Brazilian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

Salvador

Protesters in Salvador

There were clashes outside a football stadium in Salvador ahead of a Confederations Cup football match between Nigeria and Uruguay. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has seen some of the worst unrest. Late on Thursday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at groups of masked young men trying to approach the City Hall. A number of people were injured.

Porto Alegre

Protesters in Porto Alegre

Earlier this week, more than 40 people were arrested in the southern city of Porto Alegre after a small group peeled away from a protest march of about 10,000 demonstrators to attack shops.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 153.

    I must say that the protests is not truly about Dilma government. It's about all exploration that we suffer since 1500. I believe Dilma is trying to change this but she is not alone on the power. We have 27 Governors, 5564 mayors, and overpayment (including in the Justiciary) what she tried to give transparency to the people. If we are protesting it's maybe because we know much more than before.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 104.

    It started with the increase in transport fees but the reason its so much bigger is the antipathy they have for the state with its corruption and the obsession with its foreign image over its people. She hasn't mentioned reforms to political appointees or a review of spending priorities. She's just trying to buy them off with a cheap stunt. If it works they deserve the result but I doubt it will

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 95.

    I'm sure some of these reforms are being promised simply to quieten things down and I suspect a lot of them won't ever happen. This is the way it is in Brazil. Well to be fair everywhere. Politicians should be made to honour their promises or barred from politics. Brazilians are sick of the overt corruption and they're doing something about it. A luta continua!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 59.

    Dilma gave an inspiring speech but that was no mention of actions on the calls to stop PEC37 a draft bill limiting the prosecutor's capacity for investigation in cases of corruption that will be voted on 26/Jun.
    The decision to hire thousands of doctors from abroad can perhaps sort the some of the healthcare problems in the short term only.
    The education system needs a fresh start from scratch.

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 55.

    Drastic, meaningful measures are required, yet many 'leaders' think tiny measures will pacify the public: It only exacerbates the situation. Apologise publicly and unreservedly for squandering billions, dedicate the same billions NOW to education, transport and healthcare, and appoint a public commission to investigate civil servant corruption. Prosecute and punish the guilty.

 

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