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News > Brazil

Students Strike, Protest Across Brazil as Moro Orders Crackdown

  • Students take to the streets in Maceio, state of Alagoas, Brazil. The banner reads,

    Students take to the streets in Maceio, state of Alagoas, Brazil. The banner reads, "Brazil deserves education" August 13, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @MidiaNINJA

Published 13 August 2019

Researchers, professors and students protest against measures that seek to privatize education.

Brazil's Justice Minister Sergio Moro ordered his ministry's National Public Security Force (FSNP) to be stationed at the Ministries Square in Brasilia to crack down on student protests scheduled for Tuesday.


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The National Student Union (UNE) called on the Brazilian population to join a national strike on Tuesday to reject the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his policies against education and social security.

Dubbed by organizers as "the Tsunami of Education," this student protest happens at a time when women representatives from more than 100 Amazonian indigenous peoples are also protesting at the Ministries Square against the dismantling of institutions, laws and policies related to health, environment and human rights.

Moro argues that the deployment of the security forces was meant to "preserve public order and security of the people" according to media outlet Brazil 247 which warned that "the last time the FSNP was deployed, the scene was of violence and repression.”

Controlled by the Justice Ministry, this special militarized police may take action anywhere within the country if the authorities consider that "exceptional circumstances" exist.

As part of Tuesday's mobilizations, the "Democracy Committees" are demanding the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who remains in prison over corruption allegations that legal experts and leaks have revealed were politically motivated to prevent him from standing in last year's presidential elections. 

Students and workers of #Brazil they go back to the streets to march against the policies of

@jairbolsonaro that have seriously affected the education sector, and the right to retirement. 

One of the Bolsonaro's measures that has brought about more citizens' outrage is "Join the Future" (FS), a program which was announced by the Education Ministry in July.

Officially speaking, the FS initiative aims to attract private investments and organize participation inside public universities.

However, activists and education workers say its real purpose is to privatize educational services and limit the autonomy of university workers, researchers, professors and students.

"The 'Join the Future' program means 'cut first, privatize later'," the UNE said and recalled that budget cuts in education are attacks on young people's life choices.


Meanwhile, Guilherme Boulos, the former presidential candidate of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), recalled that the far-right government has already directly attacked education for the poorest.

"Paulo Freire created a worldwide-recognized method of literacy. The Education Ministry, which does not tire of attacking it, has already cut US$88 million in books for basic education," Boulos said and pointed out that such actions are "the true face of the Bolsonaro's administration."

Workers' Party (PT) president Gleisi Hoffmann stressed that neoliberal policies affect even the most basic conditions of the functioning of universities.

"Universities are going to stop working if they don't have money to pay for water and electricity," she said and asked, "how far will Jair Bolsonaro's contempt for education go?"

According to local media reports, demonstrations to support public education have been successfully carried out in more than 150 cities in Brazil. No incidents have been recorded until noon.

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