Woes over public transport fare increases in Brazil

Still in South America, scenes have turned ugly in Brazil this week as citizens continued their protests that started out as a demonstration about an increase in local bus fares.

The rise from R$3.00 to R$3.20 (the equivalent of 10c) may seem miniscule on the surface, however the country’s poorest felt they had no option but to use this as a catalyst to voice greater concerns about their government.

One protester said, “it started with the bus tickets….now we are demonstrating about everything, not just the 20 centavos.”

Although the protest began peacefully last week, the BBC is now reporting violent scenes across a number of major cities.

With the world’s attention on Brazil with the opening of the Confederation’s Football Cup acting as a dress rehearsal for next year’s FIFA World Cup, the government may have viewed the civil defiance as a national embarrassment. Many believe this is why heavily armed police were deployed using capsicum spray and rubber bullets liberally to disperse crowds.

A local financial analyst quoted in the Financial Times has seemingly summed up the feeling of the Brazilian public. “All of the corruption, all of the money we are spending on these mega events that should benefit Brazil but that are only bringing more corruption, and a government that is not considering the people, now Brazil is responding,”.

At a time when the stage has been set for Brazil to shine internationally, it is possible that this may all come unstuck over a 10 cent bus fare increase and a government out of touch with its people.

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