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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 01:29 GMT 02:29 UK
Brazil energy march turns violent
Police charge students during a protest before the governmental palace
Mounted police charged the protestors
By Tom Gibb in Sao Paulo

There have been street confrontations in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, during a march to protest against corruption and energy rationing.


This demonstration reflects the opinion polls pointing to public discontent with the policies of Cardoso

Workers Party
The police say some 30,000 people took part in the march but that the trouble was started by a small group of punks and anarchists who started to throw bottles and stones at police lines.

In response, the police fired teargas, even into the podium in front of the Congress from which speeches were being made.

They also used a water cannon, and mounted police charged the protesters. At least eight people were reported injured.

What is perhaps remarkable is that there have not been more protests like this, given what many Brazilians think of their politicians and the government.

Protesters walk past a statue symbolizing justice
Some 30,000 people took part in the march
Opinion polls show the popularity of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has plummeted because of the energy crisis.

The government blames lack of rain in a country which relies completely on hydro-electricity, but most Brazilians blame lack of government planning.

The latest corruption case filling the headlines is not helping the government's cause.

The powerful president of the Senate, Jader Barbalho, is accused of having a part in selling titles for fictitious farms when he was agrarian reform minister, and of being associated with a scheme which defrauded more than $1bn from development projects in the Amazon.

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See also:

06 Jun 01 | Media reports
Nuclear fears as energy crisis bites
05 Jun 01 | Americas
Brazil eases power rationing
19 May 01 | Americas
Brazil announces energy rationing
17 May 01 | Americas
Brazil facing football blackout
03 May 01 | Americas
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10 May 01 | Americas
Brazil talks tough over corruption
18 Apr 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Brazil
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