Massive protest in Brazil over education cuts

Brasília: Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in dozens of cities in Brazil on Thursday for a second nationwide demonstration in as many weeks over the government’s plan to slash education spending.
Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has provoked outrage among students and teachers over its proposal to freeze 30 per cent of discretionary spending for public universities in the second half of this year.
A suspension of post-graduate scholarships for students in science and the humanities has also fuelled anger.
Protests began in the capital Brasilia in the morning and spread across the country to about 100 cities and in some cases occupied entire city blocks, according to AFP reporters and local media.
“The main message is that a 30-per cent cut to education is absurd and makes it impossible for higher education in this country,” said Lina Vilela, a teacher at the Brasilia rally, where protesters held posters with messages such as “Our books and pencils are our weapons.”
Karina Afonseca said she was protesting against “the intellectual setback” Bolsonaro’s actions would cause in Brazil. “I’m here for those who are poor and deserve the right to quality public education,” social services student Kaio Duarte said.
“I’m worried that the next generation won’t have all of the rights to education that I have had.”
In Rio de Janeiro, protesters carried signs describing Bolsonaro as “the enemy of education.” — AFP