June 28 | comments icon 1 COMMENT     print icon print


Bishops back Brazilian protesters

The country’s Bishops’ Conference has issued its support ahead of World Youth Day 2013

THE bishops of Brazil have announced their support for the massive protests sweeping across South America’s largest nation, but have declined to say how they might affect World Youth Day activities and the visit of Pope Francis in July.

The support was expressed in a document distributed to journalists in Brasilia by Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference president.

The document said the conference ‘declares its solidarity and support to these demonstrations, as long as they are peaceful, and which have taken to the streets persons of all ages, especially the youth.’

Missing from the document was any mention of World Youth Day, set for Rio de Janeiro from July 23-28, but Archbishop Assis said it was the government’s responsibility to guarantee the safety of those attending. He conceded that the events of the recent few days may discourage foreign pilgrims from attending World Youth Day.

The protests have expanded since the first were organised primarily by student groups in mid-June to protest a 10-cent increase in public transportation fares. Protesters have since expanded the list of grievances with the government to include high taxation rates, decreased government services and attention to massive public projects such as stadium construction while vital social needs go unmet.

Government officials estimated that nearly 1.2 million people participated in protests across the country on June 20. The mayors of Brazilian cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, announced on June 19 that they were revoking transportation tariff increases.

“These demonstrations show us that it is not possible to live in a country with such inequalities,” the bishops’ document said.

—This story ran in full in the June 21 print edition of the SCO

Comments - One Response

  1. World Youth Day should be surrounded by peaceful protests. The people of Brasil will not see any of the money made from this event because the government have taken over this event. How do I know? I have a family of 5 who lost money because of Brasil’s WYD representatives and we as a family are the strictest of Catholics. To these WYD representatives, is not about GOD and Catholicism, it is about money.

    Our song was accepted to be sung at WYD. We bought the plane tickets and pilgrim fees and then we were told we could not sing at WYD. WYD entrapped us and everything was non-refundable. We are not going because WYD is not of GOD, it is about money and now we can see that these protests make sense. Oppression is a corruption that takes over big business to keep the people oppressed.

    May GOD protect the peaceful protests in Jesus’ name, AMEN

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