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Brazil workers protest against pension reform, disrupt transport
March 15, 2017 / 11:39 AM / 6 months ago

Brazil workers protest against pension reform, disrupt transport

SAO PAULO, March 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian civil servants, rural workers and labor confederations on Wednesday staged nationwide demonstrations against President Michel Temer’s pension reform plan, with hundreds of protestors occupying the premises of the finance ministry in the capital Brasilia.

Bus and subway services were partially disrupted in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the country’s most populous cities, local news media reported. Street demonstrations in São Paulo’s eastern and northern corners have blocked hundreds of drivers on several major avenues.

In Brasilia, more than 1,500 people from peasant and homeless groups held protests at the finance ministry, the Landless Peasant Movement said in a statement. The ministry’s press office did not have an immediate comment.

Public transport workers in the cities of Recife, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte are also striking, their unions said.

The situation underscores the deep ideological divide among Brazilians as Temer seeks to pass Brazil’s most ambitious platform of economic reforms in two decades. Leaders in Temer’s 22-party alliance see capping pension benefits as a key step to pull the country out of its worst recession on record.

Last week, Temer acknowledged that his administration will have to negotiate with Congress to win passage of the pension reform, which seeks to roll back the age of retirement and scale back benefits for civil servants.

Still, senior lawmakers have said there is not much room for changes to Temer’s original proposal if the country wants to reduce a record budget deficit that is putting the brakes on an economic recovery and hampering investor confidence. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Editing by W Simon)

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