Rio Games hit by anti-coup protests

August 7, 2016
Musician Tarcisio Cisao ended his Olympic torch run by taking off his pants, revealing a message for the interim president of Br

Thousands of people from social and political movements in Rio de Janeiro continued to protest against the interim president of Brazil Michel Temer during the second day of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

An estimated 30,000 protesters gathered around the Maracana Stadium on August 5, where the opening ceremony of the games took place, but were met by security forces who managed to stop them from entering the stadium.

Earlier that day, Brazilian police used teargas to disperse hundreds of people in Rio de Janeiro that were protesting against the coup government of Temer. Meanwhile, in the city of Sao Paulo, 35 protesters were arrested by police.

In recent months, protests against the impeachment process that seeks to permanently oust President Dilma Rousseff have increased around the country. Protests are also taking place in opposition to the financial cost of the Olympics as Temer's coup government continues to slash social programs while a number of corruption cases rock the new government.

Workers' Party protesters and supporters of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the suspended President Rousseff also marched through the streets of Rio in protest against the new administration.

Since Rousseff was suspended, organisations have led a number of major protests around the country and polls reveal a majority of the Brazilian population wants new elections. Temer is serving as interim president but has been banned from running for public office for eight years.

Days ago, police used tear gas to disperse a small demonstration by students and teachers that blocked the streets of Niteroi, where the Olympic torch was supposed to travel on its way to Rio.

Brazil's interim President Michel Temer was booed and jeered inside the Maracana stadium on August 5 after inaugurating the Games.

"I declare open the XXXI edition of the Olympic Games," announced Temer as part of the tradition of heads of state inaugurating the games. But a crowd could be heard whistling and jeering as he uttered the words.

To add further embarrassment to Brazil's interim leader, organizers and members of the International Olympic Committee did not mention Temer at the beginning of their speeches, despite them saluting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who was sat in the same area as Temer.

In marked contrast, the first refugee team to ever compete in the Olympics received a loud cheer by athletes, authorities and attendants.

Suspended president Dilma Rousseff had previously said she would not attend the ceremony. "I don't think it's appropriate that the ousted president should attend a ceremony that is lead by an illegitimate president," she said.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

Brazil: Big protests demand coup gov't resign

Tens of thousands of people answered the call of social movements on July 31 to take to the streets demanding respect for democracy in Brazil and the coup government's resignation.

Marchers demanded that coup-imposed “president” Michel Temer stand down and that the impeachment process against democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff be ended.

Nationwide protests took place in 24 states to demand Temer's resignation, under the slogan: “Temer out, the people should decide.”

The protests were called by the left-wing grassroots People's Fearless Front, which called on other activists, left movements and progressive organisations to join in.

Thousands of people from at least 30 different progressive and left groups dressed in red to take to the streets of Sao Paulo in support of Rousseff and to demand new elections.

Suspended from office on May 12, Rousseff was replaced on an interim basis by her vice-president, Temer. If she is ousted definitively by the Senate, he would complete her mandate, which runs until the end of 2018.

Anti-Rousseff protests also took place demanding her sacking and impeachment, on which the country's Senate is expected to rule later this month or in early September. A two-thirds majority vote by the Senate would remove her from office.

Organisations will also march on August 9, which is when the final vote of the impeachment process against Rousseff could take place.

Workers Party (PT) president Rui Falcao accused the coup government of having set out to destroy the achievements and social gains made under the administrations of Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before her.

For example, new coup-installed health minister Ricardo Barros said that access to public health should not be universal, while announcing planned cuts to the social security system.
His co-conspirator education minister Mendonca Filho has announced he will privatise all public universities and charge a monthly fee to students.

Labour flexibility and outsourcing are other policies being mooted to leave workers without legal protection and effective rights.

[Reprinted from Morning Star Online.]

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