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Message-ID: <199707292231.PAA28152@fraser>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 15:31:26 -0700
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: D Shniad <shniad@SFU.CA>
Subject: Strikes in Brazil

> Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997 11:04:41 -0700
> From: NewsHound <NewsHound@hound.com>
> Reply-to: NewsHound@hound.com
> Subject: Brazil faces nationwide protest at government
> NewsHound article from STRIKES hound, score ‘83’.

Brazil Faces Nationwide Protest at Government

NewsHound, a service of Knight-Ridder, 25 July 1997

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuter) - Leftist parties and trade unions Friday called for nationwide protests in Brazil against the government and its reformist, free-market policies, officials said.

A spokeswoman for Latin America's largest trade union confederation, CUT, said protesters hoped to bring traffic on one of Sao Paulo's main thoroughfares, the Avenida Paulista, to a standstill Friday afternoon in a demonstration called Open your eyes Brazil.

It's difficult to predict exactly how many will show up but there are many caravans of people coming from all over the place, she said.

By late morning, the only sign of the planned demonstration was a troop of mounted police and a few carloads of police reinforcements parked in side roads off the avenue.

A spokesman for the public security office in Sao Paulo said 6,000 officers would be on the streets to ensure order.

The organizers tell us they expect about 15,000 people to demonstrate, he said.

Elsewhere in Brazil, the landless, homeless, and destitute were expected to join protest marches organized by CUT and the leftist Workers<< Party.

In the capital Brasilia, unionists said they hoped to draw the support of the military, reported to be grumbling about its poor salaries. But an Army Ministry spokesman denied that soldiers would take part in a march down Brasilia's central esplanade where the government ministries are.

Negative, he said. There may be some soldier's relatives but the troops are not allowed to demonstrate, he said.

Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, whose government has presided over a three-year-old economic stabilization plan that has brought chronic hyperinflation under control, traveled Friday to the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul where officials tightened security amid trade union threats to greet him with violent protests.

Cardoso's opponents accuse him of selling off the country's wealth through privatizations and of not doing enough for the 30 million Brazilians living below the poverty line.

In Rio de Janeiro, local news agencies reported that members of the militant Landless Movement, which claims to represent nearly four million homeless families, took to the streets waving the movement's red flag and demanding speedier agrarian reform.

The government itself shrugged off the protests, noting that recent attempts to call national strikes had been largely unsuccessful.

They are free to demonstrate but it must be done within the law, said Presidential spokesman Sergio Amaral. But it's odd that this demonstration doesn't seem to have a clear objective and simply gives the impression that it's an excuse for some agitation. The population is tired of attempts to agitate and cause disorder in the country.