Thousands protest in Rio against education budget cuts
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A few thousand people gathered in the center of Rio de Janeiro Friday to protest against stiff budget cuts imposed by the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to Brazil’s public education sector.
Small protests have multiplied in recent days after the Education Ministry announced large budget cuts impacting all sectors of education from early childhood to post-graduate students.
Officials say it is part of a wider mandatory effort from all ministries to slash public spending.
Universities were hit by a 30% cut of their discretionary expenses, which includes among other things maintenance work and the payment of basic utilities, and future scholarships for master’s and PhD students were suspended.
The cuts triggered widespread criticism from worried university staff and education experts.
Protesters were joined by Fernando Haddad, who ran in the last presidential race backed by the Workers’ Party. Haddad was expected to speak at the event later Friday.
Since his defeat, the former presidential candidate has rarely been seen participating in protests.