In Brazil, ‘useful idiots’ protest cuts to research and education

Source: Science Magazine

Thousands of scientists, educators, and students swamped the streets of Brazil this week to protest cuts in education and research funding. Marches occurred this past Wednesday in all the country’s state capitals and more than 200 other cities, according to media reports. Several public universities, and even some private institutions not directly affected by the budget cuts, canceled classes to allow staff and students to join the demonstrations.

“I had never seen anything of this magnitude,” says Fabricio Santos, a professor of genetics and evolution at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, who joined a protest in the city of Belo Horizonte. “It was a lesson in democracy and discontent.”

Although there is no official count, organizers estimated the marches attracted hundreds of thousands of people in major cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte.The rallies were originally called by labor unions, which are protesting changes to Brazil’s social security and pension systems proposed by President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration.