GOVERNANCE - POLITICS - SOCIAL ISSUES

When Brazilians woke up

The Free Fare Movement protests are against the fare increase from three Brazilian reais (1.40 US dollars) to 3.20 reais (1.50 US dollars) put into effect at the beginning of June 2013. The demonstrations have been met with a volley of pepper spray, rubber bullets and tear gas from authorities, with hundreds of people arrested during a protest in São Paulo. The movement has been dubbed the “Vinegar Uprising“, after the vinegar-soaked cloths that protesters use to protect themselves from the effects of tear gas fired by police. Journalist Piero Locatelli, who writes for the magazine Carta Capital, was allegedly arrested for carrying vinegar in his backpack while covering the protests on June. The next protest, scheduled for June 17, has been ironically named “The March for the Legalization of Vinegar.”

In general, the protesters have been portrayed as “troublemakers” and “vandals” by mainstream media, but the very coverage by the media has been altered by the testimonies of citizen journalists that have taken the Internet by storm. Reports of violent aggression from police have spread across the blogosphere. Videos relating to the protests have also been shared on YouTube such as this one by Global Voices volunteer Raphael Tsavkko, which shows police violence on Augusta Street in São Paulo. Please watch the video analyzing what is behind these protests of discontent.

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