Brazil inaugurated its intense calendar of struggles against the approval of the Proposal of Constitutional Amendment (PEC 287). The amendment changes the rules of the retirement in the country. Mobilizations and paralyzations happened all over the country. According to the Frente Brasil Popular [Brazil People’s Front] (FBP), which along with the Frente Pueblo Sin Miedo [People Without Fear Front], had organized the actions, almost a million workers took to the streets this Wednesday (15th March) in every state of the country.
Brasil de Fato followed the mobilizations minute by minute. Thousands of people showed up in the actions in Manaus (AM); Salvador (BA); Cuiabá (MT); João Pessoa (PB); São Paulo (SP); Rio de Janeiro (RJ); Natal (RN); Porto Alegre, RS; Florianópolis (SC) and Aracaju (SE).
Throughout the day, diverse crowd participated in solidarity. Bankers, metallurgists, chemists, municipal and state professors and public servants also joined the protests.
the unelected government of Michel Temer (PMDB), had presented the PEC 287 to the National Congress. The PEC establishes a minimum age of 65 years for men and women to retire. It also requires a contribution of 49 years for the worker to receive the full value of their salary as pension. Some benefits will also be disassociated from the minimum wage, decreasing the value of retirement over time.
Protests were held at Tocantins, Sergipe, Santa Catarina, Roraima, Rondônia, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco Paraná, Paraíba, Pará, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Espirito Santo, Brasilia, Ceará, Bahia, Acre, Alagoas and São Paulo.
The first mobilization of São Paulo took place in the Grajaú neighborhood, at the extreme south. The gathering was addressed by the Committee of Cocaia Resistance and Region. According to information from the site Periferia en Movimiento [Periphery in Movement], members of local housing movements, such as Nós da Sul [We of the South] and inhabitants of the occupation Unidos para Vender [Venders collective], participated in the event in the former Aristocratic Club.
Around 300,000 people gathered in Paulista Avenue during the afternoon. Speaking there, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stated that "it is becoming increasingly clear that the coup in this country was not only against [former president] Dilma [Rousseff ] And left-wing parties, but to place citizen without any legal rights. It was to end labor rights and Social Security. "
Photograph by Ricardo Stuckert - Instituto Lula
At the rally, Lula added that the unelected president, Michel Temer, is a president without any legitimacy. Lula added that Temer represents "a political force that tries to make a retirement reform so that no worker can retire." He added that "[the reform] will leave rural workers earnings half of what they could earn, even before retiring."
Lula also sent a clear message to the Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles and to Temer about the future of the country: "Instead of reforming to withdraw rights, make the economy grow, generate jobs. BNDES has to return to being an investment bank. The government has to re-rule for the poorest people in the country. We must stop with this bullshit of privatizations. Temer has to start selling what is his, not what is the patrimony of the Brazilian people, " he said.
Finally, the former president welcomed the mobilizations across the country. "I remain more and more convinced that only with the people on the streets, using their instruments of struggle, and when we have a legitimate president, will we be able to make this country grow and generate employment," he said.
"This country is very large, and its people are hardworking and have hope. I am proud to have been President of this country and to have proved that these people deserve to be proud. [The fact that] you are on the streets, protesting, proves that anyone who thinks the people are happy, is mistaken. And these people will only stop when they have a democratically elected president, "he said.