In Brazil, 95% Oppose Black Bloc's Action

Street protests in BrazilThe Brazilian middle and high classes seem to be the most supportive of the street demonstrations and protests that have turned out in Brazil's main cities since last June, according to the results of a public opinion poll from Datafolha Institute.

But the supposedly beneficiaries of the protests calling for better public services such as urban transport, housing, healthcare, education and more transparency, the low income classes are not so convinced and show less support for all the street demonstrations that last June convened over a million people in different cities, and have again erupted.

 

However the opinion poll also shows that 95% of São Paulo residents reject the violent groups identified as the masked "black blocs" that infiltrate the mostly peaceful street protests turning them into violent clashes with a trigger happy police that likes to immediately react with tear gas, stunt bombs and rubber bullets.

The black blocs not only provoke police forces but destroy public property, torch buses and attack banks and other 'capitalist' institutions.

The poll also shows that support for the street manifestations which took off last June to protest the billions of funds invested in the stadiums and facilities for the 2014 World Cup, while people travel in public transport like cattle, public healthcare and education are in a collapse situation, has kept growing among those residents with incomes of over US$ 1.500 per month.

In effect 80% of those in that income group support the street protests and only 18% rejected them. However among the group of São Paulo residents making US$ 700 or less per month, support rate drops to 54% (26 percentage points less that the richest), while only 42% of those even more submerged back them.

But all groups express strong rejection to any form of violence during the manifestations, be it from protestors or/and police forces.

Despite poor government services, a dilapidated transport system and rampant political corruption, not one member of congress or political appointees, so far, has finished in jail despite the repeated scandals. In the first year of her administration President Dilma Rousseff sacked or forced the resignation of over six ministers involved in alleged corruption cases. In Congress the impunity situation is even worse because of their privilege status.

Furthermore the June protests impeded the passing of a bill by Congress which was supported by all the arch of parties which make up the ruling coalition that would prevent prosecutors from investigating alleged crimes committed by lawmakers, leaving the job to the federal police.

When the content of the bill was made public through the social networks that helped organize the massive street marches, the Congress almost unanimously threw out the initiative that had been carefully tailored by the political system.

Riots and Vandalism

Brazilian police fired tear gas and have arrested scores of protesters in the country's main city São Paulo when a march demanding free public transportation for students turned violent. The protest on Friday evening blocked key city streets and disrupted the public transportation system in the city of 11 million. Police reported the arrest of at least 78 people.

A group of 'vandals', some wearing black hoods, smashed store windows and bank ATM machines, set a public bus on fire, and destroyed subway and bus ticket machines, while riot police wielding clubs and shields in turn fired tear gas to disperse the mob. São Paulo police blamed the anarchist group "Black Bloc" for the violence.

A group that police described as "criminals disguised as demonstrators" even surrounded and attacked a police colonel.

"Since the start of the demonstration the presence of Black Bloc members, who screamed at police and tried to get them to react violently, was noticed," city police said in a statement.

The anarchists "attacked Colonel Reynaldo Simoes Rossi in a cowardly fashion, stealing his pistol and his radio. The officer had his collar bone broken and multiple lacerations to his face and head," the report read.

Broadcast images showed a sole plainclothes officer waving his pistol in an attempt to guard the colonel, who was on the ground being attacked by the masked thugs.

According to police, violence erupted following a three-hour march through the city to protest against the president’s failure to address the ongoing issue of the cost of transport.

Brazil is in the international spotlight as it prepares to host the World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

More than a million Brazilians took to the streets in June, angry at widespread corruption and the millions being spent on the sporting events. Protesters say the money should instead be invested in improved transportation, education and health services.

In a June protest in São Paulo, tens of thousands marched over the poor condition of the public transportation system. Smaller protests have since been taking place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Those protests are often led by radical groups and usually end up in clashes with police.

Black Bloc members wear black hoods, T-shirts or scarves to cover their faces. They move in groups, and often break windows and attack police at otherwise peaceful demonstrations.

According to police, violence erupted following a three-hour march through the city to protest against the president’s failure to address the ongoing issue of the cost of transport.

Earlier on Friday, President Dilma Rousseff announced a 2.4bn (1,1bn dollars) plan to improve public transport in São Paulo. The money will be invested in urban train lines and subway expansion including a new line to link the city's airport to São Paulo's eastern zone.

"The republic and the state government have a common coordinated action to attack the most serious problems that we have in our largest cities, one of which is urban mobility," said Ms Rousseff.

Mercopress

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