Tens of thousands of Brazilians answered trade union calls to take part in a general strike on Friday, closing down public transport, bringing traffic to a halt and causing chaos across the country. Trade unions say that 45 million workers were taking part in 63 cities. Others joined protests in opposition to cuts to Brazil's education system, with professors and students turning out in large numbers.The general strike was called to express anger over President Jair Bolsonaro's plans to change the country's pension laws. The changes would increase the retirement age for women to 62 and for men to 65. It would also increase the amount of money workers pay into retirement funds. Currently, women and men can retire after 30 and 35 years of work respectively, allowing them to quit working as early as 50 and 55. Experts fear the reforms would unfairly burden poor manual laborers who would be forced to work for much longer.
Bolsonaro fired the last moderate in his administration on Thursday, leaving him, his sons and right-wing writer Olavo de Carvalho running the show.