SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Thousands of protesters marched in Brazil on Tuesday, demanding free university education, respect for teachers’ rights and better quality education for those in state-run schools.
About 2,000 took to the streets of São Paulo at nightfall, waving flags and banners calling for the removal of Gov. Geraldo Alckmin. A handful of what appeared to be members of Black Bloc organizations broke glass, surrounded local businesses and invaded and destroyed a large department store.
Hundreds of police officers fought back against Molotov cocktails and other forms of violence with tear gas bombs and pepper spray that filled the air.
The “vem pra rua” chant ubiquitous to the protests that swept Brazil in June and July, along with the new, “I pay, but I shouldn’t, education is not a commodity,” could be heard before the violence started.
Police arrested 56 protesters inside department store Tok & Stok and in its parking lot.
“I’m fed up with corrupt politicians. I could write a book about all the things they’ve done,” said Lucia Dores, 50, a teacher who was near the department store when protesters pushed their way inside.
“The police were throwing tear gas bombs for no reason. They just didn’t want people to keep moving forward,” Dores said. “We had nowhere to run, nowhere to go. That’s why people went inside Tok & Stok. Someone saved me by giving me vinegar to get rid of the tear gas effects and then I ran out of there.”
Read the entire story in USA Today.
By Jill Langlois
Originally published in USA Today on October 16, 2013.