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Protesters hit streets despite Brazil President’s assurance

A quarter-million Brazilians took to the streets in the latest a wave of sometimes-violent protests

Written by Associated Press | Sao Paulo | Published: June 24, 2013 1:55:29 am

A quarter-million Brazilians took to the streets in the latest a wave of sometimes-violent protests that are increasingly focusing on corruption and reforming a government system in which people have lost faith. A new poll shows that 75 percent of citizens support the demonstrations.

The turnout in Saturday’s protests was lower than the 1 million participants seen on Thursday and there was less violence. But in the city of Belo Horizonte police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to pass through a barrier and hurled rocks at a car dealership. Salvador also saw demonstrations turn violent.

Many protesters were not appeased by a prime-time television address Friday night by President Dilma Rousseff,who said that peaceful protests were welcome and emphasized that she would not condone corruption.

A new poll published Saturday in the weekly magazine Epoca showed that three-quarters of Brazilians support the protests. The poll was carried out by the respected Ibope institute.

On Saturday,protesters denounced congressional legislation,known as PEC 37,that would limit the power of federal prosecutors to investigate crimes — which many fear would hinder attempts to jail corrupt politicians.

Police estimated that about 60,000 demonstrators gathered in a central square in Belo Horizonte,30,000 shut down a main business avenue in Sao Paulo,and another 30,000 gathered in the city in southern Brazil. Tens of thousands more protested in more than 100 Brazilian cities,bringing the nationwide total on Saturday to 250,000,according to a police count published on the website of the Globo TV network,Brazil’s largest.

In the northeastern city of Salvador,where Brazil’s football team played Italy in a Confederations Cup match,some 5,000 protesters gathered about 3 miles from the stadium,shouting demands for better schools and transportation.

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