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Thousands of Brazilians protest against government reforms

IANS | Brasilia |

Thousands of people took to the streets in Brazil, following calls by trade unions and social movements, to protest against new fiscal adjustments launched by the government.

The main reason behind the protests is the reform of the law on pensions and retirement proposed by the government of President Michel Temer, Efe news reported.

Demonstrations took place in the capital cities of all 26 states of the country and in the Federal District.

In Sao Paulo, the largest city in the country, the central Paulista Avenue was the epicentre of the gatherings, which also took place in the Patriarch and Republic squares.

The Museum of Art of Sao Paulo (MASP), in the heart of the city, brought together some 70,000 people, according to organisers, marching with posters in protest against reforms proposed by the Temer government.

In Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, nearly 15,000 protesters gathered in the central Rio Branco avenue and walked towards the historic Cinelandia square, with placards against subcontracting and the pensions reform project.

Demonstrations were also held in other cities, with lower participation, such as Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador and Fortaleza.

The controversial pension reform proposes a minimum of 25 years contribution and a minimum age of 65 years to have access to retirement benefits.

Another important reason for complaint is the bill allowing companies to outsource labour — hire third parties to perform certain tasks.

For the government, approving the reforms is a priority to get out of the serious economic crisis affecting Brazil, with an over 3 per cent fall in the GDP.