Brazil rises up: 2M march across 80+ cities, 110,000 in the streets of Rio

The street protests in Brazil have gained momentum, with huge crowds in the streets. At issue is a kind of corporatist corruption symbolized by two upcoming football tournaments that are to be held at enormous public expense, even as poor Brazilians find themselves struggling with substandard infrastructure and price-hikes for public services. As in other BRIC nations, Brazil seems like a place where the economic future is here, it's just not evenly distributed -- not by a long shot.

The Brazilian president has praised the protesters for demanding justice but the state's spies have ramped up their social media surveillance, and the Brazilian police have met the protesters with extreme use of force, including gas, rubber bullets, and shotgun-toting cops on horseback and motorcycles:

Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout that may have been close to 2 million. An estimated 110,000 marched in São Paulo, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife, and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Clashes were reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, in Porto Alegre in the south, in Campinas north of São Paulo and in the north-eastern city of Salvador.

Thirty-five people were injured in the capital Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets. In São Paulo, one man died when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people, including many journalists, were hit by rubber bullets.

The vast majority of those involved were peaceful. Many wore Guy Fawkes masks, emulating the global Occupy campaign. Others donned red noses – a symbol of a common complaint that people are fed up being treated as clowns.

Brazil protests: riot police scatter crowds in Rio [Jonathan Watts/The Guardian]


  1. I see that the president is ‘proud’ of the protests; but only in a nice, harmless, theoretical sort of way, not one of those ‘actually having to change course’ sorts of ways.

      1.  The simultaneous crackdown on various Occupies was coordinated by Obama’s “Justice” Dept.

  2. The president said that she is ‘proud’ of the protests because she has no other option, really. She also tried to minimize the acts by saying that “protesting is a typical behavior of younger people”.

    1. Bear in mind that, in her younger days, she was involved in the kidnapping of a US diplomat by a radical activist group.

    2. Some of the original organizers have denounced that right-wing groups are infiltrating the protests. The overall demands have risen from specific points (bus tariffs, PEC 37 — which is a law soo to be voted — etc) to abstract ones, like “end corruption”, “more education”, to blatantly illegal, like “arrest X, Y and Z”. It is simply impossible for any President to go to TV and say “all right, I am ending corruption now, I just need  to sign this paper”.

      What will happen from now on? A couple of scenarios:
      1) the government does not interfere in the protests, which will be used as camouflage from righ-wings, anarchists and the like to attack more buildings and make even more damage.
      2) the government uses the police to break down the violence with more violence (just check the stupid behavior of the Rio police last Thursday), and the clashes continue until some inocent is killed.
      [And by government, please remember that each state has control of the police — it is not a Federal (Presidential) matter so far.]

      With both scenarios, the overall evaluation will be that the President has lost control of the situation. The result? Just check what happened to Lugo in Paraguay ( ), where this was used as an excuse for what was actually a coup d’état. Brazil is not Paraguay and it might not end in impeachment, but all this will certainly be used in the next elections.

      Are the protests legitimate? OF COURSE. But don’t be naïve: the movement is being captured.

    1. A lot of “us” are awake. Truly effective courses of action, however, remain illusory. Even dream like.

Comments are closed.