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Temer's Big Mistake - Underestimating the Power of Popular Protests

09/06/2016 - 09h34

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VALDO CRUZ
FROM BRASÍLIA

President Temer made a grave error in underestimating the impact of the protests against him and his government during a recent interview in China.

He said that the current anti-government protests taking place all over Brazil were only a small concern facing his new government: a matter of 40, 50, 100 people tops.

His priority seemed to be to play down the problems facing the country politically, giving off the impression that all is well in the jungle of Brazilian politics.

Marlene Bergamo/Folhapress
Temer said the protests were small events with 40, 50, 100 people in attendance.
Temer said the protests were small events with 40, 50, 100 people in attendance.

During his visit to China, Temer even went as far as to say that his government is not opposed to street protests, even those which particularly attack his cabinet. He criticised the actions of people he described as "troublemakers", but tried to play down the extent of the protests, claiming they were small events with 40, 50, 100 people in attendance.

Temer will return to Brazil without giving any more interviews. His Minister of Finance, Henrique Meirelles, is seeking desperately to contextualise his statements. Meirelles recognises the existence of "fairly large groups of people" in the streets, but says that "in the past there have also been much larger protests".

General opinion in the Planalto Palace, the seat of government, is that Temer's speech will only serve to further enrage protesters, stoking the fire for more anti-government street demonstrations this Sunday (4).

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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