“We are students fighting for students," Teenager Tells Politicians

Student Ana Julia Ribeiro, 16, delivered a speech to legislators defending the student protests across Brazil. The video of the brave and intelligent girl silencing the critics has since went viral.

"To whom do these schools belong?" Ribeiro asked in Legislative Assembly of state Paraná. "This is our country, it will be the country of my children and the children of my children and I am concerned about the future."

Around 1,000 schools and universities, majority of them in state of Parana, were occupied last week by students in protest of President Temer’s plan to pass a federal spending cap and state educational reforms that could see subjects like arts, physical education to not be a required part of school curriculum.

"We can't just sit back with our arms crossed," Ribeiro said. "We know that we need a reform in high school education and the educational system as a whole, but we need a reform that has been debated and discussed and promoted by education professionals."

"This isn't a game for us, we know what we are fighting for. Our flag is education, our only flag is education," Ribeiro said. "We are a nonpartisan movement. We are a student movement for the students."

Ana Júlia heated the atmosphere when she brought up student Lucas Mota’s death, who was stabbed to death in a fight in an occupied Paraná high school, for reasons completely unrelated to the occupations.

“I was at Lucas’ wake yesterday, and I didn’t recognize any of your faces there,” she said to the politicians in the assembly. “You all represent the state, and so I invite you to look at your hands. Your hands are dirty with the blood of Lucas. Not just of Lucas but of all the adolescents and students that are victims of this.”

The audience applauded while some rebuked as the president threatened to end the session.


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