Recently, Brazil has been going through some tough economic times due to the huge Petrobras money laundering scandal and the inefficiency of Dilma’s cabinet amidst nationwide disdain for her and her policies. The crisis has taken many different forms across the country; in Rio de Janeiro violence between drug traffickers and pacification police has risen, recently causing a nearly-fatal gunshot wound to an officer after a confrontation in the northern zone. In the southern state of Paraná, teachers from around the capital city of Curitiba, are protesting against pension cuts.1
On April 29th, teachers of Curitiba took to the street to protest changes in their pension plans, an issue that was being voted on that day in the state legislature building. The basic idea of this change is to move pension funds from one account to another seemingly less secure fund.2 Teachers became worried about the switch and have rallied against the decision. Unfortunately, their demands were met with an alarmingly violent police response.
Approximately 150 protesters were injured when police began firing rubber bullets and water cannons to fight the crowd that grew to around 20,000 people. 2 The city council building nearby had to be opened up in order to receive protesters who had been hurt in the clash, and the mayor later commented on the official city Facebook page that he laments the drastic turn the protests had taken.3 Despite the unrest, the bill created to switch pension funds was passed by the state legislation and is moving on to the state assembly. It seems that until the national scandals plaguing Brazil get sorted out, controversial austerity measures will have to be taken, for better or for worse.
1) "Brazil: At Least 150 Are Injured as Police Clash With Teachers." The New York Times. Associated Press, 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 May 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/world/americas/brazil-at-least-150-are-injured-as-police-clash-with-teachers.html?ref=americas&_r=0>.
2) "Violent Clashes at Brazil Teachers' Protest in Curitiba - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 May 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32527969>.
3) Eisenhammer, Stephen. "100 Injured in Teacher Protest in Brazil City of Curitiba." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 May 2015. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/29/us-brazil-protest-teachers-idU....