Performers all across the country took to the streets, Thursday, August 10, in 12 Brazilian capitals, where they gathered signatures to encourage the government to increase the cultural budget.
In Rio, the activities connected with National Petition Day were concentrated in the Cinelândia district, downtown, where clowns, jugglers, actors, and dance and musical groups made appearances.
The performers must obtain a million signatures to submit an amendment to a bill that is already under discussion in the National Congress, raising the percentage of the federal budget earmarked for cultural projects from 0.34% to 2%, beginning in 2006.
They also demand the release of the 57% of the resources that the government allocated to culture this year and has still not made available.
The actor Stepan Nercesian, president of the Rio de Janeiro Union of Performers and Art Technicians, said that the current situation of culture in the country is “deplorable” and that “professional dedication is the only reason that performers remain on stage.”
“The budget question is what reveals a government’s real interest in culture, since nothing is produced without money. This is why we decided on this movement, and, even knowing we must toil like ants, we are confident we will be able to obtain the necessary number of signatures to submit it to the National Congress,” Nercesian added.
He affirmed that the Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, is aware of the grievances of the category, but, “despite being a performer, he can’t do anything without a well-defined cultural policy.”
In Rio de Janeiro alone, between 11 am and 2 pm, the performers gathered over two thousand signatures. Another 20 thousand had already been collected at theater doors in the city since the beginning of the month.
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