Almost 600 people marched on Tuesday through the streets of Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, against the increase in the price of public transport, inspired this time by the demonstrations in Chile that led to a social outbreak.
The protest, convened by the Passe Livre Movement, departed from the headquarters of the City Council of Sao Paulo and peacefully continued until Paulista Avenue, in the financial heart of the city, under a strong police device composed of about 800 agents.
This is the first concentration of 2020 against the increase in subway, bus and train fares in Sao Paulo, a vindictive act that has been repeated in the capital of São Paulo in recent years, although it has gradually lost strength.
With posters such as “Fire to the turnstiles” or “let’s do like the Chileans”, the demonstrators expressed in this edition their wish that this Tuesday’s act be the “spark” for greater outrage against not only the rise in transport, but also against the liberal court policy of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro.
“For us, in Brazil, Chilean youth is an inspiration because it is a youth that historically mobilized a lot against neoliberalism” and “last year they gave a mobilization lesson for all of Latin America,” Bruno Carvalho, 24, told Efe , student of the University of Sao Paulo.
Talles Almeida, also a university student, also describes the Chilean movement as “inspiring,” although he acknowledges that, “unhappily,” it is far from the same in Brazil in the short term.
The social outbreak in Chile, which has lasted since the end of October 2019, began as a protest against the increase in the price of transport and resulted in a national clamor to which other social claims joined.
In Sao Paulo, the Passe Livre Movement denounced the rise of ten cents of real (2.5 cents) of the single transport ticket, which since January 1 costs 4.40 reais (1.1 dollars), which It represents an increase of 2.32%.
Lara Barros, 17, told Efe that ordinary workers “have no conditions” to assume that rise, at a delicate moment in the country, with an unemployment rate that remains above the double digits (11.2% or almost 12 million people), and also criticized the elimination of some public transport lines.
The Ministry of Transportation of Sao Paulo defended in a note that the readjustment is below the country’s inflation, which currently stands at 3.27%.
For its part, the Mayor’s Office of Sao Paulo alleged that since the beginning of 2017 a renewal of the fleet has been carried out with more than 4,8000 new buses, which represents almost 35% of the total.
In June 2013, the Passe livre Movement was also the main driver of the protests in Sao Paulo for the increase in the value of public transport tickets when they cost 3.00 reais (today 0.75 dollars), but rose to 3 , 20 reais ($ 0.80).
These protests spread throughout the rest of the country and led to a wave of demands, such as greater investments in health and public education, and criticism of the high government spending to organize events such as the 2014 World Cup.