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Brazilian president pledges reforms in hopes of ending protests

June 22, 2013 at 8:21 AM
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BRASILIA, Brazil, June 22 (UPI) -- The president of Brazil says she will make a series of reforms designed to quell protests that have seen more than a million people in the streets.

Dilma Rousseff announced the changes in a pre-recorded nationwide television broadcast following an emergency meeting with her cabinet, the BBC reported Friday.

She promised to come up with a new plan to benefit public transportation, ensure all oil royalties are used for education, and to recruit thousands of foreign doctors to improve the national health service.

Rousseff said she would meet with the leaders of the protests to engage "their contribution, their energy and their ability."

She also pledged to create institutions that were "more transparent, more resistant to wrongdoing."

Her speech touched on the initial cause of the demonstrations: rising fares for public transportation in Sao Paulo. That protest escalated into rallies against corruption and other issues.

The president also responded to criticism about the cost of building a new stadium to host next year's soccer World Cup, saying companies making use of the arena would finance it.

More than a million people protested across the country the country Thursday. About 1,000 marched in Rio de Janeiro Friday.

Stores have been looted and police pelted with rocks. Two people have died and dozens of people injured.

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