Conflicts & War

Protesters occupy Brazil’s main stock exchange

Sao Paulo, Sep 23 (EFE).- Scores of activists occupied Brazil’s largest stock exchange for nearly an hour Thursday to protest rising inflation, record unemployment and the policies of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Members of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) led a group onto the trading floor of the exchange, located in the heart of Sao Paulo’s financial district.

The choice of venue for the protest was “symbolic, because while thousands of families suffer hunger, a small population is profiting,” Debora Lima, an MTST coordinator in Brazil’s largest city, told Efe.

In a statement posted on social media, organizers contrasted “the growth of the great fortunes and the emergence of 42 new billionaires” with data showing that more than 116 million Brazilians are contending with food insecurity.

“Bolsonaro and the market are trying to kill our people with hunger. They will not succeed,” the statement said.

Official unemployment is above 14 percent and inflation is approaching 10 percent amid a halting economy recovery following last year’s 4.1 percent decline in Brazil’s gross domestic product due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to the inflationary surge, the Central Bank this week raised the benchmark interest rate for the fifth time in 2021 to 6.25 percent, its highest level in two years.

Bolsonaro, now under investigation by the Brazilian Congress for his handling of Covid-19, has seen his approval rating plummet in recent months.

Though the pandemic has eased slightly, coronavirus continues to claim around 500 lives every day on average.

The Covid-19 death toll in Brazil stands at more than 592,000, second only to the United States, and the giant South American nation is third worldwide in the number of confirmed cases, behind the US and India. EFE


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