Recent weeks have seen the resurgence in Brazil of a series of mass protests against hikes in public transport fares. The largest demonstrations have taken the streets of São Paulo, where the increase in tube, metropolitan train and bus tickets from 3.50 to 3.80 reais was announced by state and municipal governments in December 2015.
Movimento Passe Livre (MPL is the free fare movement founded during the Worldwide Social Forum in 2005, in Porto Alegre, and which led the 2013 protests, also in São Paulo. These brought hundreds of thousands to the streets and forced the authorities to rescind the 20 cents fare increase imposed then (from 3.00 to 3.20 reais). Now MPL has taken to the streets again demanding that fares stay as they are.
With support from other social movements, MPL has been organising protests every week in different parts of the city since the increase came into force on January 9. The police have used excessive force to curb the protests, including brutal repression at the assembly point of the second demonstration. Dozens of people have been injured – including one man who suffered an exposed fracture, a pregnant woman who lost her baby, and journalists who were later invited by the Public Security Department to wear special vests in order to make them easily identifiable by military and riot police officers.
The most recent demonstration called by MPL was held on 28 January opposite São Paulo Town Hall. This, the seventh large demonstration in the City, was called a ‘protest meeting’, as the movement invited the mayor and the state governor to come down from their offices and engage in dialogue. Neither politician showed up, and they sent no representatives. There was a huge police presence, but the demonstration finished peacefully. MPL members declared that it is now time to build up their strength and engage further with Brazil’s oppressed communities. The next large protest is booked for February 25, but in the meanwhile, smaller mobilizations will continue.
Learn more by reading LAB’s recent article by Ali Rocha and Nayana Fernandez here.
Photos by the journalist Raphael Sanz
MPL website: http://www.mpl.org.br/