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200,000 people in Rio protest against oil royalties redistribution


10:59, November 27, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Some 200,000 people gathered in downtown Rio de Janeiro on Monday to protest a bill that would redistribute oil royalties favoring non-oil producing states.

Protesters including government officials, politicians, celebrities, athletes, students and workers braved rains in Rio, Brazil's largest oil producing state, to urge President Dilma Rousseff to veto the bill, which they considered a measure to deprive Rio state and several towns of billions of oil revenue.

In order to attract more demonstrators, the Rio state and city governments have launched a large campaign advertising the protest. They even gave public servants a day off on Monday. Public schools in the city were closed in the afternoon. Music concerts were also held to attract the public's attention to the protest.

The new regulations, approved by the House of Representatives in early November, envisage a more even division of the oil royalties between oil producing and non-oil producing states and municipalities.

Rio authorities argued that the new bill will cripple the state, not only jeopardizing preparations for such major events as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics but also disrupting payments of public servants' salaries.

The president should have to decide the fate of the bill by Nov. 30. If he does not veto the bill, authorities from oil-producing states said they would submit the matter to the Supreme Court, hoping the bill will be ruled as unconstitutional.

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