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Brazil is facing a growing backlash against its government after a group of demonstrators stormed the National Congress on Sunday, leading to a violent confrontation with police.
A meeting of Brazil’s National Security Council has led to a firm decision against amnesty for those who took part in the unrest. Government sources have said that “Brazil has zero tolerance for violence and anyone found taking part in the acts of vandalism, robbery, burning and use of explosives will be held responsible”.
The motives of the protesters have been widely condemned and are not officially recognized by any government organ. However, some civil society groups have voiced support for their cause, claiming that the government’s response to their demands has been inadequate.
The president of the National Congress, Eduardo Cunha, said in a statement that any kind of illegal action against the government would not be tolerated. He also appealed for greater understanding of social inequalities in Brazil and a “revival of hope” among the population.
The demonstrations started after President Dilma Rousseff made a highly criticized speech celebrating the country’s development in the face of a severe economic crisis. Recent austerity measures have led to the cut of public services, rising prices and poverty.
The government is currently considering tightening security measures in the city, including beefing up the police presence in major areas of the city and deploying more troops to sensitive locations where protests are more likely to take place.
While Brazil’s government is ruling out amnesty for those taking part in the violent acts, the current social unrest is a sign that it must address the serious underlying economic and social issues in the country. Unless these are addressed, Brazil is likely to face further social turmoil.