RIO DE JANEIRO – Thousands of people took to the streets in Brazil on Friday, following calls by trade unions and social movements, to protest against new fiscal adjustments launched by the government.
The main reason behind the protests is the reform of the law on pensions and retirement proposed by the government of President Michel Temer.
Demonstrations took place in the capital cities of all 26 states of the country and in the Federal District.
In Sao Paulo, the largest city in the country, the central Paulista Avenue was the epicenter of the gatherings, which also took place in the Patriarch and Republic squares in the center of the metropolis.
The Museum of Art of Sao Paulo (MASP), in the heart of the city, brought together some 70,000 people, according to organizers, marching with posters in protest against reforms proposed by the Temer government.
The opposition congressman Arlindo Chinaglia, belonging to the Workers’ Party, told EFE that “many people began to think about (the election of) 2018. But I think that we must concentrate our energies now to avoid loss of rights at this moment.”
Similarly, congressman Ivan Valente, of the left-wing Socialism and Liberty Party, told EFE that “public outrage is rising, mainly because of the social welfare reform.”
The Labor court judge and Professor at the Legal Preparatory Center, Mauritius Simoes, said the working class between 25-50 years of age was left “without any rule” and that the country is facing an uneven balance with the change in life expectancy of Brazilians.
In Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, nearly 15,000 protesters gathered in the central Rio Branco avenue and walked towards the historic Cinelandia square, with placards against subcontracting and the pensions reform project.
Demonstrations were also held in other cities, with lower participation, such as Brasilia, the capital of the country, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador and Fortaleza.
The controversial pension reform proposes a minimum of 25 years contribution and a minimum age of 65 years to have access to retirement benefits.
Another important reason for complaint is the bill allowing companies to outsource labor, i.e., hire third parties to perform certain tasks.
For the government, approving the reforms is a priority to get out of the serious economic crisis affecting Brazil, with an over three percent fall in the GDP.