Brazil’s foreign ministry building in Brasilia was in a sorry state the day after a night of rioting. With unrest in the country unabating after a week, President Dilma Rousseff has held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss how to respond to the popular discontent.
It has seen two deaths and protest marches over a million strong; the worst popular protest in two decades. Scores of people have also been injured.
Originally sparked by a rise in bus fares, the demonstrations have grown to include anger over the cost of next year’s World Cup compared to spending on public services, and corruption in high places. At least 100 cities have been affected.
“I think people are really doing the right thing. The first phase has begun. People taking to the street shows that we are not a population of conformists, like the whole world thinks,” said one young woman.
“The people are right to be demanding their rights, but only up to a certain point. When it’s a question of breaking into shops, looting, or stealing things, this has nothing to do with the protest movement,” was one young man’s opinion.
The media has criticised the political class, which has been wrong-footed by the scale of the protests, for failing to react to the crisis.