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Brazilians rally in Rio to slam austerity plans

Brazilian protesters have staged another rally in the city of Rio de Janeiro to protest austerity measures proposed at the state level.

The demonstrators, mainly public workers, gathered outside Rio’s legislative assembly on Monday to denounce the proposals under consideration at the local legislature.

Amid country-wide recession, the Brazilian state of Rio has been facing a financial crisis of its own. Thousands of state employees and retirees have not been getting paid or been paid months later as a result of the financial breakdown.

It was the second time that crowds of mainly civil servants marched on Rio’s state assembly to denounce the proposed austerity measures, which state officials say are necessary to contain the economic crisis.

The protesters, already financially insecure, are unhappy with the potential prospect of more salary and pension cuts, tax increases, and the suspension of social programs.

The austerity measures have been introduced by the governor of Rio de Janeiro. Some of the measures have already been passed by decree, but others have to go through the legislature.

Tumult erupted in a similar protest last Wednesday, when the protesters threw homemade grenades at the assembly building. Police were deployed, using rubber bullets, smoke and flash grenades, and pepper spray in response.

The protests in Rio come as the country is engulfed in a wider political crisis marked by public distrust of politicians. Former president Dilma Rousseff was suspended earlier in the year to undergo an impeachment trial. Her successor, incumbent Michel Temer, faces allegations of corruption, too.

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