Proposed Bus Fare Increases Roil Brazil

'Unruly' protests by residents opposed to planned hikes in the cost of bus fares have shaken Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the past week. The country has a history of transit fare protests going back 130 years.
June 16, 2013, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Protests by an increasingly forceful movement coalescing against increases in bus fares shook Brazil’s two largest cities on Thursday night, the fourth time in a week that activists have taken to the streets in demonstrations that have been marked by clashes with security forces," reports Simon Romero. "The protesters, mainly university students but also activists from leftist political parties, appear to be loosely tied to an organization called the Free Fare Movement, which advocates sharp decreases in public transportation fares or doing away with the fares and financing transit through tax increases."

"The free-fare movement has held protests against bus-fare increases in different parts of Brazil in recent years," notes Romero. "The latest demonstrations have crystallized around resistance to new fare increases, making it the latest in a sequence of campaigns of dissent over public transportation dating to the Vintém Revolt of 1879, when protesters in Rio de Janeiro challenged Brazil’s monarchy over fares for trolley cars."

“'The hike in bus fares were the spark for this to happen,' said Maurício Santoro, an adviser here to Amnesty International. 'Public transportation in Brazil is expensive, unsafe and poorly managed, especially impacting poor commuters who have no choice but to rely on these systems.'”

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Published on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in The New York Times
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