When there’s a teachers’ strike in Brazil, it gets a little more heated than the UK. Especially when the Black Bloc turn up
Rio de Janeiro’s protests are anything but boring. Monday night saw the latest – a teachers’ demonstration which proved the focal point for discontent about police violence and poor public services and ended with molotov cocktails, tear gas and running battles through the city.
Teachers have been on strike for two months demanding better pay and rejecting stealth privatisation and despite a torrential downpour my estimate is that around 250,000 turned out to march. Police maintain it was only 10,000, and other estimates vary from 50,000 to 500,000. In any case, it was by far the largest number since the protests in June and July.
A teacher holds a placard with a book stuck to it reading ‘I’m a teacher. This is my weapon. Because of this, I’m dangerous.’ Photo: Nick Pope
Public solidarity with the teachers mushroomed following a series of episodes last week. Riot police were filmed using tear gas and pepper spray to break up a peaceful protest of teachers, and one policeman was filmed planting evidence on a minor.