Thousands of Brazilians have staged demonstrations across the country in a day of industrial action, calling for improvement and change in their job conditions.
On Thursday, Brazil’s biggest trade union federations called for a nationwide strike on the " National Day of Struggle " to protest work conditions and call for more constructive measures to curb runaway inflation. The demonstrators were mainly industry workers, shopkeepers, civil servants, teachers and hospital staff. Better wages, shorter working hours, job security, improved public transport and bigger investments in public health and education are the most important demands of the unions. Protesters blocked highways in 18 states of the country. In Sao Paulo, demonstrators blocked traffic and held banners reading, " More taxes for the rich, fewer taxes for the poor. "
" We want things to improve in the country. We are marching because health and education are in crisis in Brazil. There must be a change, " said Rosely Paschetti, a Sao Paulo municipal employee.
In the city of Santos, dock workers blocked access to Latin America's biggest port Santos. The strikers reportedly blocked access to ports in six other states. Protesters held rallies in other major cities such as Sao Jose dos Campos, Rio, Brasilia, Salvador de Bahia, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, and Manaus. Brazil has been hit by nationwide protests since June 17, when street rallies began initially over a rise in bus fares. However, the anger has now snowballed into nationwide demonstrations, with people demanding the government to address the issues of high taxes, inflation, corruption, and poor public services. The protesters are also opposed to the spending of over 26 billion US dollars of public money on the two major sporting events of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.