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Demonstrators briefly occupy Sao Paulo stock exchange to protest inequality

·1-min read
Activists from the Homeless Workers Movement protest outside the Sao Paulo stock exchange (AFP/NELSON ALMEIDA)

Several dozen demonstrators briefly occupied the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on Thursday to protest widening economic inequality in inflation-hit Brazil under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Standing beneath electronic panels that displayed stock prices in the country's biggest stock exchange, the protesters waved red banners and a Brazilian flag with the word "hungry" written on it.

"We are occupying the Sao Paulo stock exchange, the greatest symbol of speculation and social inequality," the Homeless Workers Movement, which organized the protest, said on Twitter.

"While companies profit, the people are hungry and work is increasingly precarious."

One of the signs held by protesters read "Everything is Bolsonaro's fault."

After a short rally, the group left the building and continued its protest outside.

The president addressed the protest Thursday night in a live video broadcast on Twitter.

"What did the left do so that people didn't lose their rent (money) in 2020?" he asked. "You did the exact opposite when you supported the stay-at-home policies, and then we see what happens with the economy."

"The bill has come due," Bolsonaro said, also adding that price increases are due to "an inflation of food costs all over the world, not just in Brazil."

Brazil's economic inequality has been further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 590,000 people in this country of 213 million.

Inflation is nearly 10 percent year-on-year with over 14 million Brazilians unemployed.

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