RIO DE JANEIRO: President Dilma Rousseff vowed Tuesday to listen to youths staging Brazil’s biggest protests in 20 years in an outpouring of anger over the huge cost of staging events like the World Cup.
More rallies were scheduled for Tuesday, a day after more than 250,000 people took to the streets of major cities in mostly peaceful rallies, although there were some clashes with police and acts of vandalism.
Protesters are furious that Brazil is spending US$15 billion to host the World Cup next year and the ongoing Confederations Cup bring together national times from around the world while, the protesters say, spending on health and education is moved to the back burner.
The Confederations Cup is a dry run for the World Cup. The president expressed empathy.
“These voices need to be heard,” Rousseff said in an address at the presidential palace.
“My government is listening to these voices for change.”
“My government is committed to social transformation,” she added, hailing what she called the largely peaceful nature of the protests.
In Rio, where 100,000 marched, some tried to storm the state legislative assembly, set fire to a car and ransacked shops.
Rousseff said that with the country’s rising prosperity over the past decade, new citizens have emerged “demanding more and entitled to more.” — AFP