Image from Classique
On Friday, the police brutally repressed thousands of Brazilians who took the streets to oppose austerity measures and the Temer government. The actions were part of the second general strike in three months. Repression took place in major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Florianopolis.
Police repression in Rio de Janiero.
The “General Strike” included work stoppages of teachers, bankers, metallurgists, health care workers, oil refinery workers and more. However, participation was much lower than the general strike two months ago, as some labor unions actively opposed the strike and others, tied to the Workers Party (PT) refused to organize workers to engage in the strike. Yet, there were pickets and work stoppages around the country, demonstrating an immense will to fight by the Brazilian working class. In some cities, workers faced police repression at the pickets. At the end of the day, there were large protests in nearly all of Brazil’s major cities.
The protest in Rio de Janiero
In Porto Alegre, the police attacked workers with tear gas and rubber bullets at a garage where bus drivers had organized a picket. Two union representatives were arrested by the police. Altemir Cozer, leader of the CSP Conlutas, a left wing union organization and Raúl Cerveira, of the labor union CTB were arrested. Cerveira has been released, but Cozer may be charged under the “anti-terrorism” law with carrying explosives. According to others who were detained by the police at the picket, both union leaders were called several sexist and homophobic slurs upon arrest.
In Florianopolis, at a road blockage, the protesters were met with rubber bullets from the police. The Vice President of the Health Care workers was hit, as well as two students who were hit in the leg and head.
In Rio de Janeiro, protesters who blocked the highway in the morning were attacked by rubber bullets. Two people were injured, including one person who broke their leg. In the afternoon, protesters were barred from marching in the direction that had been previously planned. After taking another route, protesters were hit with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The pickets, street protests and work stoppages demonstrate an immense will to fight by the Brazilian working class– a will to fight that is being stifled by the union bureaucracy tied to the Workers Party or to the bosses.