Have you been following the goat rodeo in Brasil?
The government hiked transportation costs which will hit Los Pobres, who are also concerned about the costs of the World Cup next year. Response? Demonstrations, riots… you know… the new normal.
This in advance of Pope Francis’ trip to Brasil for World Youth Day.
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — More than a week of massive, violent protests across Brazil invited only stoic silence Friday from President Dilma Rousseff, even after she had called an emergency meeting with a top Cabinet member in response to the growing unrest.
Only on Friday night did the government confirm that Rousseff would address the nation a few hours later, but through a prerecorded message. She was expected to meet in the evening with top bishops from the Roman Catholic Church about the protests’ effects on a papal visit still scheduled for next month in Rio and Sao Paulo state.
Trying to decipher the president’s reaction to the unrest has become a national guessing game, especially after some 1 million anti-government demonstrators took to the streets the night before across the country to denounce everything from poor public services to the billions of dollars spent preparing for next year’s World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The protests continued Friday, as about 1,000 people marched in western Rio de Janeiro city, with some looting stores and invading an enormous $250 million arts center that remains empty after several years of construction. Police tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas as they were pelted with rocks. Police said some in the crowd were armed and firing at officers.
Local radio was also reporting that protesters were heading to the apartment of Rio state Gov. Sergio Cabral in the posh Rio neighborhood of Ipanema.
Other protests broke out in the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, and in Fortaleza in the country’s northeast. Demonstrators were calling for more mobilizations in 10 cities on Saturday.
The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops came out in favor of the protests, saying that it maintains “solidarity and support for the demonstrations, as long as they remain peaceful.”
“This is a phenomenon involving the Brazilian people and the awakening of a new consciousness,” church leaders said in the statement. “The protests show all of us that we cannot live in a country with so much inequality.”
Perhaps João Card. Braz de Aviz should drop everything, leave Rome, and rush to Brasil to help settle things down before Francis gets there.
During Acton University last week, we heard a talk from an Iranian women, convert to Catholicism while still a teen, who had been hauled to a pretty nasty prison and tortured in various ways you can guess at during the Islamic revolution. She offered, among other things, a warning: revolutions are like explosions – they are sudden and the results are unpredictable.