12 Jul 2013

Nationwide day of strikes in Brazil

10:17 am on 12 July 2013

Ports and motorways in Brazil were blocked during a nationwide day of strikes and protests on Thursday.

Public transport was almost at a standstill in cities such as Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Ten states were affected.

The protests were called by Brazil's largest trade unions which are demanding better public services, land reform and a shorter working week.

More than a million people took part in similar demonstrations in June.

The BBC reports those protests were sparked by rises in transport fares, but expanded to other grievances such as the costs of staging the World Cup, corruption and demands for better health, education and transport.

The demonstrations in June prompted President Dilma Rousseff to present a package of investments and reforms in public services.

She also proposed a national referendum on political reform, but the BBC reports members of the Congress said it would be practically impossible to organise before next year's elections.