Thursday, June 17, 2010
It's a beautiful day to Protest
I headed out to take my oldest to school this afternoon and was greeted by a herd of people. Nothing like a good march down a busy street in the middle of the day. Add a truck with speakers, police escorts, and about 200 people and you have yourself a fairly common sight on Rua das Laranjeiras.
It's protest time! Who is it today? The public students? The public sanitation workers? The public secretaries? The public teachers? The guess is yours but it's pretty safe to say it's in the public sector.
I'm just lucky to live near the governor's office, Palacio da Guanabara, on Pinheiro Machado. People love to organize protests about once every 4 to 6 months. They walk from Largo do Machado, up Rua das Laranjeiras, to Pinheiro Machado and sit infront chanting. The whole thing takes about an hour. The very persistent groups will stay there for much longer, much to the distress of everyone sitting in their cars waiting.
What I've always wondered is why they choose to do it between noon and 1pm. First off, it's hotter than hell in the summer. If they keep it up, someone will be getting skin cancer on their nose. I bet the Governor isn't even there. I bet he's just like the majority of high level public workers and is on his 4 hour lunch. They should head down to the boteco (small dive bar) down the street and meet him there.
And what are the public workers protesting about? I can understand the Public student protesting. The government gives the schools little money and, especially in the Universities, the teachers/professors go on strike a lot. I had a UFRJ professor as an English student at one point. At the time, he had started to stand against the strikes. The university had closed enough times, due to professor strikes, that it was getting impossible for the students to finish the semester. They hadn't had enough class time to cover the material.
As for the others, I'm sure they have just cause. It's just hard to remember that when you think about the fact that they can't get fired. They can't get fired! That's just craziness! Of course it's because of corruption and people firing people to hire friends and family members. I get where it came from. But it's still crazy. I know a judge who took 2 years off to raise her child, was paid for the first year, and had her position held for her until she came back after an additional year off.
If you took the lump sum of what someone in Brazil pays in taxes, their entire salary from January through May would go to the government. June through December is ours. Where is that money going? I'd just like to see things done a little more efficiently down here. Then again, if everything was efficient it wouldn't be Brazil. If it wasn't Brazil, I wouldn't live here. Well, as it turns out, I don't know what the hell I want. And I just discovered a reason to protest!
Just found out it was the professors (educational professionals) protesting! Schools out! Globo