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  • Brazilians protest against education-related budget cuts in Sao Paulo, Brazil May 15, 2019. The banner reads

    Brazilians protest against education-related budget cuts in Sao Paulo, Brazil May 15, 2019. The banner reads 'Out Bolsonaro.' | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 May 2019

The far-right politician's disqualification of protesters, who were branded as idiots and dolts, fueled a new cycle of unstoppable demonstrations, local observers anticipate.

The Brazilian Union of High School Students (UBES), the National Union of Students (UNE) and the National Association of Graduate Students (ANPG) jointly called for Wednesday the Second Nationwide Strike in Defense of Education, which will be held on May 30.

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Bolsonaro Denies Education Cuts, Says Smart Minority Are Using 'Idiot' Protesters

"We need to show Bolsonaro the students and people's strength," UNE president Marianna Dias said on Wednesday night, adding that this week's demonstrations are just "the beginning of the bitter pill which Bolsonaro will swallow."

Her words reflected the indignation felt by millions of Brazilians when Bolsonaro called them idiots and dolts. They did not, however, leave street demonstrations until late at night.

"If you ask them about the water's formula, they do not know anything. They are useful idiots, dolts, who are being used as a mass-of-maneuver by an experienced minority which makes up the core of many federal universities," said Bolsonaro, who was paying a visit to former U.S. President George W. Bush in Dallas, Texas, while his country was undergoing a new round of unrest.

"Women are labeled as whores, workers as lazy and now students as useful idiots. That is Brazil's President!"

On May 15, the streets of over 200 Brazilian cities were occupied by at least two million protesters. This massive uprising was a response to budget cuts announced by the Education Minister, Abraham Weintraub, on April 30.  Besides affecting elementary schools, high schools and universities, Bolsonaro's policies contemplate restricting public resources allocated for scientific research and scholarships.

"The great demonstrations against education budget cuts...  opened a cycle of unstoppable struggles which will have political repercussions," commented local media Brasil 247.

"Throughout Brazil, students are these demonstrations' protagonists. Due to the lack of scholarships and investments in education, the days are numbered for many needy students seeking to attend college," said Anderson Luiz, a UNE regional vice president, when asked why there was massive participation of elementary, middle and high school students in May 15 demonstrations.


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