Thousands protest in Brazil over education cuts

09:27 | 31/05/2019
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Brazil's capital on Thursday (May 30) following calls for a second nationwide demonstration in as many weeks over the government's plan to slash education spending.
thousands protest in brazil over education cuts
Brazilian students demonstrate during a strike organised by the National Students Union against budget cuts in capital city Brasilia. (AFP/EVARISTO SA)

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's government has provoked outrage among students and teachers over its proposal to freeze 30 per cent of discretionary spending for public universities in the second half of this year.

A suspension of post-graduate scholarships for students in science and the humanities has also fuelled anger.

Tens of thousands protested across Brazil on May 15, but Thursday's turnout could be lower after the government said it would free up 1.59 billion reais in funding (about US$400 million) for the sector.

Protests began in Brasilia ahead of demonstrations in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities later in the day.

"I'm here for those who are poor and deserve the right to quality public education," social services student Kaio Duarte told AFP in the capital.

"I'm worried that the next generation won't have all of the rights to education that I have had.

"This protest makes clear that students will never be silenced."

Thursday's protests come after thousands of pro-Bolsonaro protesters marched in cities across Brazil on Sunday in a show of support for the embattled leader.

Among their demands was for Congress to speed up approval of the government's stalled pension overhaul, seen as key to unlocking other much-needed economic reforms.


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