So why are Brazilians protesting?

This is a question I am often asked. Answering is not difficult, but meeting the expectations of the question definitely is. The simple answer is demeaning of the protests. Corruption. It envelops everything, which can in turn answer nothing. The people of Brazil have realised they have the capability for better services, but these are not being met.

It started with the bus fare hike of 20 cents (AUS 10 cents), but within days the signs held by the protesters began to display “It’s not about 20 cents”, followed by the hash-tag “come to the streets”.

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Even Obama, among other celebrities and Mark Zuckerberg showed their support

This was an invitation for Brazilians take to the streets their discontentment of public matters. This involves transport, facilities, education, health, government actions and management within. It sounds like the country needs a makeover, but they don’t want superficial changes, as it has been done in preparation to the world cup to exhibit the beautiful face of the country; they want fundamental changes.

The people want a transformation within the system of governing. This includes local, state and federal law alterations for a kind of management that gives priority to the people. This is a long process, but one thing is sure, the streets have allowed a direct contact between the authorities and the population.

The demands range from city to city and state to state, but their focus isn’t lost and response isn’t impossible. In fact, the president proposed early last week five commitments regarding transport, health, education, the economy and a government reform.  However, this is just the beginning of answering their demands.

In the past week, in over ten states the protesters have organised themselves to request for a number of specific and plausible requests, starting with the immediate retraction of the bus fare hike in the states that haven’t withdrawn.

Over three councils are occupied by protesters demanding  to be heard by the city mayor. In the third capital city of Belo Horizonte, they have planned out proposals range from a municipal level to federal requests.

State wide proposals include a ‘free fare’ in the metropolitan with amplification and the end of privatisation of the metro system; rejection of the unconstitutional prohibition of demonstrations during the FIFA World Cup; and the exclusion of the code that allows Military Police action against street sellers and the homeless, among others.

Nation-wide requests include support for the numerous people expelled from their homes to make way for development; direct and immediate transparency of public resources used for the World Cup; repudiation of Military Police violence to stop demonstrators and stimulate aggression from protestors, among the rejection of other laws and constitutional amendments.

In the south, people are asking for political reform and better ethics in politics, while in DF Brasilia they say ‘Out Renan’, referring to the president of the federal congress who was accused early this year for embezzlement and falsification of documents to deviate cabinet funds to pay his son’s accommodation.

Brazilians are finally going out to the streets demanding their rights to better public services and a clean governing with transparency where politicians also follow the law. It may be a long way away, but slowly they are making the right changes. This week the mayor of Belo Horizonte met with the protesters occupying the council. Change is bound to happen.

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