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Nation-wide education protests in Brazil against budget cuts

A teacher covers her mouth with a sticker that reads in Portuguese "Bolsonaro out!" in reference to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, during a national strike against cuts in the education budget, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Union leaders have called for a strike in the education sector, to denounce the government’s budget freeze for public higher education and plans to open federal universities to private investment. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Thousands of students and teachers have protested federal cuts in education spending in gatherings across Brazil.

Union leaders called for a strike Tuesday in the education sector, denouncing funding cuts from elementary schools to higher public education and plans to open federal universities to private investment.

The government says it is implementing the cuts across the board and in an equal way.

Online news portal G1 registered events in 72 cities Tuesday but the turnout did not match the huge crowds that joined in similar protests in May.

The latest cuts of 348 million reals (about $87 million) happened in July, targeting school textbooks.

The education ministry had already announced earlier this year a 30% cut to university funding and blocked all forthcoming scholarships for master’s and doctoral students.

The Associated Press