Brazil‘s biggest protests in two decades intensified on Thursday as 300,000 people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and hundreds of thousands more flooded other cities. The demonstrations came despite the government’s U-turn over public transport fare hikes which sparked the protests over a week ago.
Authorities in Rio de Janeiro increased police manpower more than tenfold to deal with the protests.
In the centre of the city, shops pulled down shutters as crowds gathered next to the cathedral, hundreds wearing plastic masks.
But the atmosphere was festive, with music and chanting from the mostly young, middle-class crowd. The wide variety of banners showed how this movement has been a magnet for frustrations that have simmered for many years: “Stop corruption. Change Brazil”, “Come to the street. It’s the only place we don’t pay taxes”, “Government failure to understand education will lead to revolution”, “We want to change everything wrong in our country”, “Stop police violence” – Seemingly the only common theme was a desire for change.