Protest is useful

Students protest against savings plans in education

According to media reports, tens of thousands of schoolchildren and students have demonstrated in many cities in Brazil against the planned cuts by the right-wing populist government in education. In Porto Alegre, the capital Brasília and in Rio de Janeiro, there were clashes between demonstrators and the police during the protests that lasted for hours on Wednesday, as reported by the Uol portal. The officers used tear gas to break up the crowd. But nobody was injured. President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in office since January, called the demonstrators "useful idiots".

They are "maneuvering mass" of a minority of know-it-alls who form the core of many universities, said the ex-military in the United States, where he was on his second visit since taking office. "They don't even know the chemical formula of the water or how much 7x8 is," Bolsonaro said, looking at the demonstrators.

The new education minister Abraham Weintraub recently announced the savings plans. Among other things, around two billion reals (around 445 million euros) in higher education - both schools and universities - could be eliminated, as the broadcaster BBC Brasil reported.

In many schools and universities, classes and lectures were canceled due to the protests on Wednesday, and professors and some parties were reportedly involved in the demonstrations. According to the organizers, around 50,000 people took to the streets in Salvador da Bahia in the northeast of the country alone, as reported by the "Globo" portal. In Rio Grande in the south of Brazil, there were around 20,000 demonstrators.