Thousands of Brazilians in 100 towns protest against education budget cut
Protests started in the morning and lasted until the evening, mostly peaceful, with only a small incident registered in Brasilia earlier in the day. It was the second day of the protests, with the first day on May 15 in over 200 towns in all Brazilian states.
The federal government announced a cut of some 30 percent in the discretionary budget for federal universities and schools, which is used for paying light and water bills, the salaries of outsourced workers and funding research, among other things.
In addition, all new fellowships for masters' and doctorate programs were suspended, which might effectively stop research programs, as fellowship grants are the only source of income for the young post-grads, and without them, many of them may have to leave the programs.
Universities and schools alleged that they cannot ensure operation until the end of the school year in December with the reduced budget. And as many federal universities operate large hospitals and museums, the damage is not limited to the schools themselves.
With the approval of Congress, the government announced the budget cuts to fulfill the fiscal target for a primary deficit of 139 billion reals (about 34.9 billion U.S. dollars), Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said earlier.
The government said they will release more money for education later on, but maintained the cuts previously announced. ■