Brazil hit by anti-austerity protests

Agence France Presse

Posted at Sep 24 2015 08:01 AM | Updated as of Sep 24 2015 04:01 PM

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Hundreds of demonstrators besieged government offices in Brazil Wednesday to protest plans for deep budget cuts as part of an austerity plan.

President Dilma Rousseff, faced with a deepening recession and rising inflation, has put forth an austerity plan that involves $17 billion in cuts to bring the federal budget out of the red.

Opposed to that plan, several hundred protesters blocked the entrance to the Finance Ministry's Sao Paulo headquarters while hundreds more massed outside the ministry's offices in Brasilia and Rio.

"We will not accept cuts to housing," Guilherme Boulos, the leader of a movement of homeless workers, told the G1 news website at the Sao Paulo protest.

In Brasilia, police dispersed protesters from an action by landless farmers, who tried to storm the Ministry of Agriculture, scrawling graffiti on walls that read "Agribusiness kills."

"This government which was considered progressive in the beginning has lost its leftist principles," said Roni Morais, a psychology professor from the federal university of Mato Grosso do Sul, outside the Brasilia offices of Finance Minister Joaquim Levy.

Rousseff's plan has also encountered stiff opposition in Congress and among supporters of her leftist Workers Party.