Clashes in Rio as trade unions protest in Brazil

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Clashes in Rio as trade unions protest in Brazil

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Clashes broke out in Rio de Janeiro as tens of thousands of trade union protesters blocked roads and ports in several Brazilian cities in a one-day strike on Thursday.

The workers hoped to keep the momentum from mass protests which swept the country in June and sent shockwaves through the government.

Police fired tear gas on masked protesters who tried to hijack the peaceful march of labour activists calling for better working conditions.

“The struggle is about workers, orderly people. There was no need for the police to shoot tear gas in their faces. My wife and I had to flee from the gas,” declared one man attending the protest in Rio.

“The government don’t want to know about the people and the people are calling for a vote. The government just want to spend money without giving health care to the people. They don’t want to give the people education. They are treating the people like cattle,” exclaimed another protester.

Major highways were blocked as tyres were set ablaze on a motorways near Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. Though the protests were smaller in scale, their demands remained the same, for the government of Dilma Rousseff to fulfill promises of social reform.