Mass demonstrations and protests were held in all 27 Brazilian states this week by trade unionists over employment issues, education and health. The demonstrations were meant to be peaceful and people wore masks and held flags in their hands.
But the police intervened when a cardboard box full of homemade molotov cocktails made of beer bottles was reportedly found in possession of the people participating in the march dubbed as the ‘National Day of Strikes, Stoppages and Protests.’
When a demonstrator allegedly used one of the bottle-based improvised incendiary weapons, police fired teargas and the peaceful protests turned into violent clashes between the authorities and activists, once again.
Brazil already went through turmoil last month when ‘The Free Fare Movement’ started against the government as well as over extravagant preparations for the 20th FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
You can watch footage of the fresh clashes in the video below:
This time around, the people, the trade unionists demanded for better health and education benefits and for a 40-hour working week. There are also rumors regarding the fact that the molotov cocktails were planted so that the police could carry out its crackdown on protesters.
According to news sources, more than 80 sections of highway were blocked across Brazil. In Campo Grande, deep in Brazil's interior, 35,000 demonstrated. In Belo Horizonte 7,000 took the streets. While thousands demonstrated in front of the National Congress in Brasília. There were protests in Recife, Fortaleza and Maceió in the north-east of Brazil, Belém in the Amazon and Florianópolis in the south. The majority of the protests were peaceful.
Several demonstrators were detained and police regained control of Rio de Janeiro as the violence came to an end. Although the protests were carried out in huge numbers across Brazil, the most incidents of violence occurred in Rio. News reports also cite that the police officials beat down the detainees and misbehaved with them even after they had gained control of the streets.
Although the demonstrations last month far much worse and hostile, these protests are nevertheless a red flag for the Brazilian authorities that malcontent still lingers on among Brazilian people, especially the people who are not being provided enough by the government. President Dilma Rousseff has reportedly responded to the unrest by floating several proposals including spending $23 billion on urban transportation, using oil royalties to fund education and importing thousands of foreign doctors to work in impoverished, underserved areas. But whether or not it will help to stop further protests still remains to be seen.