Brazil: Teachers bring country to a halt and demand end of cuts

published 17 May 2019 updated 11 June 2019

The first national mobilization since the start of Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency brought the country to a halt and sent a clear message of opposition to the government’s policies.

Close to 2 million people took part in the protests during the national education strike called on 15 May by the CNTE, a member of Education International. The demonstrators were protesting the announced cuts in the funding for education, which in the case of higher education will be as high as 30%. This large-scale protest was held in all the state capitals and in hundreds of municipalities and was the first against the policy of Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

For the president of the CNTE, Heleno Araújo, the day of protest shows the strength of those defending public, secular, quality education for all Brazilians. Mr Araújo added that it was only the beginning of a wave of protests. “We will organize activities against the reforms until the end of May, and the mobilizations will continue until the general strike of workers planned for 14 June,” Mr Araújo stressed.

The hashtag #TsunamiDaEducación [Education Tsunami] became popular and well-known in Brazil during the day. It reflected the scale of the mobilization which extended to schools, federal institutions, universities, squares, streets and avenues of the capitals of all the Brazilian states and the Federal District, as well as hundreds of cities in the country’s interior.