Yesterday, more than 10,000 people protested in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the two largest and most influential Brazilian cities. Protesters — primarily teachers — demanded higher education standards and a pay increase. They also refused to accept a benefit plan proposed by Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes.
Although the protests were initially peaceful, violence started when a group of masked young men — theoretically, supporters of the teachers — started fire on a government building in Rio de Janeiro. The police responded with tear gas. Meanwhile, some protesters in Sao Paulo ransacked many banks and provoked disturbances.
The police have arrested 20 people and blamed the self-identified-anarchist Black Bloc group for the violence.
Teachers have been on strike against the benefit plan for more than 40 days. Regardless, yesterday the councilors passed the bill.