Lifestyle & Belief

On Location Brazil: Why they’re still marching

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The Brazilian government is racing to usher in a bevy of ambitious reforms to address protesters’ complaints.

President Dilma Rousseff promised upgrades in everything from public schools and hospitals to transport and anti-corruption laws. Congress has already approved some of them.

And yet, apparently it isn’t enough. After nearly three weeks of protests, thousands of demonstrators are still swarming the streets.

Now protests are underway in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and financial hub. A large demonstration is also expected to kick off Thursday afternoon in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

On Wednesday, in Belo Horizonte, an estimated 50,000 demonstrators gathered outside the stadium as Brazil’s soccer team faced off Uruguay in the Confederations Cup. A 21-year-old man was reportedly killed when he fell off an overpass as protesters clashed with police.

The Confederations Cup is a closely watched international soccer tournament — a dry run for Brazil’s even more massive 2014 World Cup. It’s the country’s multibillion-dollar spending on flashy venues and other infrastructure for soccer, plus the 2016 Summer Olympics, that’s helped fire up the angry young people taking to the streets.

But pricey stadiums are just one irritant in a list of protesters’ gripes, all of which seem to be rooted in uneven development across Latin America’s largest economy.

“If Brazil were more developed, with good health care and education, I would not care,” a 17-year-old protester from Rio’s Rocinha slum told GlobalPost. “I would be happy to host the World Cup. Brazilians love soccer.”

More GlobalPost video: Raw Feed — Rage in Rio de Janeiro