Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Brazil on Monday of this week, in protest at bus and subway fare hikes.
These are some of the largest protests in Brazil’s history. This follows a police attack on protesters last Tursday.
Footage from activists and mainstream media show police indiscriminately firing tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators, journalists and passers by.
Dozens were injured including eight journalists. One lost an eye after being shot by a rubber bullet.
Despite police repression and the intransigent city and state governments, there have been five large Free Fare demonstrations in the last three weeks.
The Free Fare movement—students, trade unionists and activists—first organised protests when fares increased by 6 percent on 2 June.
The city government, headed by Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT) claims that the increases are below inflation.
But São Paulo, as well as being the largest city, also has the most expensive public transit in South America.
There is growing dissatisfaction with the neoliberal politics of the main parties which are the Brazilian Social Democratic Party and the Workers’ Party.
Billions have been spent upgrading stadiums for next year’s World Cup.
Meanwhile thousands of people have been displaced from their homes.
Politicians from both parties and the Workers’ Party federal government have condemned the Free Fare movement.
But many grass-roots activists from the PT have participated along with militants from the far-left Party of Socialism and Freedom, PSOL.
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