Brazil pension reform protests

Brazilian civil servants, rural workers and labor unions staged nationwide demonstrations against President Michel Temer’s pension reform plan, with hundreds of protesters occupying the finance ministry in the capital Brasilia.

Bus and subway services were partially disrupted in São Paulo, the country’s biggest city, where small street demonstrations around the city snarled drivers in traffic.

Temer and his allies in the ruling coalition say capping pension benefits and raising the retirement age is key to fixing public finances and pulling the country out of its worst recession in more than a century. Powerful unions have pledged to fight the proposed reform tooth and nail.

In Brasilia more than 1,500 people from peasant and homeless groups protested at the finance ministry, the Landless Workers Movement said in a statement. Protesters invaded the ministry in the dawn hours and some remained nearly eight hours later.

Public transportation workers in the cities of Recife, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba also pledged to join the strike. Striking teachers and bankers shuttered some schools and banks in Rio de Janeiro, where public transport was less affected. (Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Brad Haynes/Reuters)

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