The protests come after the opening matches of soccer's Confederations Cup over the weekend, just one month before a papal visit, a year before the World Cup and three years ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, they go beyond the R$0,20 (US$0.10) raise in public transport fares.
Brazil is currently experiencing a widespread collapse of its infrastructure. There are problems with ports, airports, public transport, health and education. Brazil is not a poor country and the tax rates are extremely high. Brazilians see no reason to have such bad infrastructure when there is so much wealth that is so highly taxed. In the state capitals people spend up to four hours per day in traffic, either in their cars or on crowded public transport which is of very poor quality.
Other than the problem of infrastructure, there are several corruption scandals which remain without trial, and the cases being judged have been tending to end with the acquittal of the defendants. The biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history finally ended with the conviction of the defendants and now the government is trying to reverse the trial by using maneuvers through unbelievable constitutional amendments: one, the PEC 37, which will annihilate the investigative powers of the prosecutors of the public ministry (the Brazilian equivalent of the District Attorneys), delegating the responsibility of investigation entirely to the Federal Police. Moreover, another proposal seeks to subject decisions of the Brazilian Supreme Court to the Congress - a complete violation of the three powers.
More than 100,000 people took to the streets in overwhelmingly peaceful protests in at least eight cities Monday. In Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic hub, at least 65,000 protesters gathered at a small, treeless plaza then broke into three directions in a Carnival atmosphere, with drummers beating out samba rhythms as the crowds chanted anti-corruption jingles.
Hundreds of protesters in the capital, Brasilia, peacefully marched on congress, where dozens scrambled up a ramp to a low-lying roof, dancing on the structure's large, hallmark upward-turned bowl designed by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer.
In Belo Horizonte, police estimated about 20,000 people joined a peaceful crowd protesting before a Confederations Cup match between Tahiti and Nigeria as police helicopters buzzed overhead and mounted officers patrolled the stadium area. Earlier in the day, demonstrators erected several barricades of burning tires on a nearby highway, disrupting traffic.
In Rio de Janeiro, crowds clogged entire city blocks, waving Brazilian flags and chanting against corruption and for democracy.
PROTESTERS RETURNING HOME BY SUBWAY IN SAO PAULO, CHANTING THE BRAZILIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM