Civil servants protest last night’s news that November and December salaries would only come after the new year. Some sectors, such as education and security, have already received payment. However, those who haven’t will receive their salaries in up to five separate installments between the 5th to 17th of January.
On Friday morning, protesters occupied the state government headquarters, distributing bread and water. They called the act the “Christmas Dinner of Misery.” With many unable to pay months of bills, they won’t be celebrating with much over the coming Christmas weekend.
At around 12:30, the protesters blocked off traffic on main streets in Rio’s downtown area. The government headquarters stated it would receive two leaders of the movement for a meeting.
The state had to backpedal on its promises to pay salaries on Friday due to new blocks on their accounts by the National Treasury.
Rio in State of “Public Calamity”
Rio de Janeiro was the first state in Brazil to declare “public calamity” due to massive debts. Ostentatious spending on the 2016 Summer Olympics and billions in tax exemptions are just two reasons for the state’s debts. Protesters are also angry at their corrupt state politicians, multiple ex-governors of which are already in jail on corruption charges.