Brazilian students occupy schools to fight the government

High school students in São Paulo have been occupying schools since 2015. There are now 18 technical centers occupied in São Paulo and more than 70 occupied schools in Rio de Janeiro. The main issue which led the students to occupy their schools was the proposed “reorganization” of the education system which would have harmed a lot of students and resulted in the shutdown of more than 90 schools.

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The reorganization was proposed by Geraldo Alckmin, the governor of São Paulo, in the second half of 2015 and would have divided up students between elementary school I, elementary school II and high school. Besides occupying schools, the students held demonstrations on the main streets of São Paulo. Despite being viciously repressed by the police they didn’t give up and eventually, at the beginning of 2016, Alckmin decided to suspend plans for the school reorganization.

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Early in 2016 it was the turn of the technical schools. On 28 April the office for the administration of the schools was occupied by hundreds of students who demanded an end to the corruption of school lunches with poor quality ingredients, for quality food for the students and more money for education. Furthermore the students occupied the legislative assembly of the state of São Paulo and managed to force the opening up of an investigation into the theft of meals from schools.

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Those occupations were supported and accompanied by many others all over the country. The movement extended into states such as Goiás, Rio de Janeiro and Ceará. All this shows young people’s willingness to fight and to organize for the overthrow of the current system.

by Ariele Efting, Esquerda Marxista (Brazil)