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Rio’s class war: Brazilian teachers take pay protest on to streets


Riots broke out in Rio de Janeiro after a demonstration by Brazilian teachers turned violent. Masked protesters hurled rocks and fire bombs at police, while others looted from banks and broke into government buildings.

Teachers and trade unions were protesting the Brazilian government’s public-sector cuts and changes to the education system, which they claim are to fund events like next year’s World Cup.

Teachers were disputing the recent reform of pay and working conditions and have been on strike for nearly two months. Student Eduarda Ferreida told the BBC: “We want a better public education, all children should go to school, and that’s not a reality yet in Rio. We also want the teaching profession to be a dignified one with decent salaries.”

Police estimated over 10,000 demonstrators participated in the rally, which coincided with Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations. Although the march on the City Hall began peacefully, it descended into a confrontation between protesters and the authorities, which lasted into the night.

Masked protesters attacked buildings and cash machines, and threw Molotov cocktails. Police were accused of being slow to react and responded with tear gas.