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Protests in Brazil and ERT in Greece

Protests in Brazil and ERT in Greece – your dose of #dailyoutrage from Union Solidarity International.

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Monday night saw seven Brazilian cities rocked by massive protests as between 100,000 and 200,000 people took to the streets. The biggest protests Brazil has seen since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985 were initially sparked by the raising of bus fares.

However, heavy-handed policing lead to an all out revolt against poor public services, heavy handed policing and the collusion between corrupt politicians and corporations in the run up to the World Cup.

Like the protests in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, the Brazilian protests highlight the importance of urban geography in the neoliberal city. In Turkey, over the conflict between the right of citizens to urban green space versus the desire of developers to build a shopping mall. In Brazil, due to the geographic dispersal of a lot of poorer people, who live very far away from their jobs in the more salubrious parts of the city: transport costs are a major factor over everyday life.

Both the Turkish and Brazilian economies are doing comparatively well. In a global economic crisis, developing economies like this are essential to drive the world economy forward. This puts a huge amount of pressure on society as money flows in and corporate interests grow more powerful.

In contrast to Turkey’s socially conservative AKP government, Brazil has a popular, comparatively left wing government headed by Dima Roussef’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) – the Workers’ Party.

The PT’s Balsa Familia programme has lifted millions of people out of poverty and given many poorer people access to higher education for the first time, and the PT does extremely well in elections.

However, there are concerns about an authoritarian security culture, and collusion between politicians and corporations. The economic benefits of Brazil’s growth – which is slowing down – have been uneven. Citizens see huge amounts being spent on World Cup projects while they continue to suffer.

A Greek court has ordered that the state broadcaster ERT begin broadcasting again, after it was dramatically taken off the air by the government six days ago in a cost saving measure. However, the court upload the Greek government’s austerity measures, and affirmed that ERT be ‘restructured’ into a ‘leaner’ organisation. In addition to media channels, the ERT also has extremely popular symphony orchestras, which are affected by the cuts.

 

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