Brazilian Protests

This blog is to help spread the truth about the protests in Brazil. I'll be translating some news sent directly from the people involved. If you want to help, share the stories!

VIDEO: ‘Vinegar Uprising’ Bus Fare Protests Spread Across Brazil


[All links lead to Portuguese-language webpages unless stated otherwise.]

The waves of protests against a bus fare increase in São Paulo is moving beyond the city limits and becoming a national movement.

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. 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 June 13 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 13, as seen in the YouTube video below.

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. The Tumblr blog (meaning “injured in sp protest”) was created to denounce the use of violence against protesters.

On Twitter, the hashtag #pimentavsvinagre (#peppervsvinegar) has been used. 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:

Anonymous Brasil’s YouTube channel published a video with different images from São Paulo, calling its people to the streets:

Movements throughout Brazil
Movimento Passe Livre São Paulo/Facebook

The fourth demonstration against bus fare increaes in São Paulo / São Paulo Movement Free Pass / Facebook

Since the June 13 protest ended in hundreds of arrests, people in other regional capital cities such Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre have taken to the streets, facing police retaliation. While this month’s marches had have the strongest national and international coverage, they are related to other movements against bus fare hikes that have been ongoing in the country since last year.

In Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, a movement called the “Big Bus Uprising” started in September 2012 when youth occupied the bus stations and main streets of the city to protest against bus fare increases. This year, when the new mayoral administration tried again to increase fares, youth returned to the streets.

Just like in other capitals, the local media spoke of vandalism. The protest on May 15, 2013 was violently repressed by police as shown by this video on YouTube channel Coletivofoque:

Anonymous activists defaced the site of the Union of Passenger Transport Companies of the City of Natal (SETURN), a public transport company of the city, and posted a note inviting city residents to a protest on June 20.

In Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, citizens were able to overturn the decision to increase fares by taking to the streets in March 2013. After this pressure, the change was suspended by an injunction by the courts in April. However, there will be another judgement in two weeks which could overturn the injunction. The Association of Passenger Transporters (ATP), the company responsible for public transport in the city, is waiting on an appeal. The company’s proposal is a fare increase from 2.85 Brazilian reais (1.32 US dollars) to 3.05 reais (1.41 US dollars).

To mount pressure against the increase, there was a march through the streets of the southern capital city on June 13. It was suppressed with tear gas and rubber bullets by the military brigade, as shown by the video posted on Coletivocatarse:

It was reported that there were protesters that attacked a garbage container and broke bus headlights and that a total of 23 people, among them 18 men and 5 women, were arrested this night, acccording to news website. A video posted by YouTube user Jeronimo Menezes shows armed police entering a bar in the region of João Pessoa Avenue and threatening regulars, asking them to point out who participated in the protest:

On the eve of the beginning of the Confederations Cup, the event which comes before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the struggle against bus fare hikes has shone light on the things that really matter, as journalist Luís Felipe dos Santos reminded:

O aumento da passagem é um pretexto para o padrão do Brasil como país emergente: o serviço encarece, mas não melhora. O ônibus ficou mais caro, mas não justificou esse aumento – continua lotando, continua matando os passageiros (como no Rio), continua atrasando. Como os ônibus, os imóveis também ficaram mais caros e não melhoraram. A saúde ficou mais cara e não melhorou. A educação ficou mais cara e não melhorou. Os preços dos ingressos de estádios de futebol encareceram e não melhoraram.

The bus fare hikes are just symbolic of the standard [of life] in Brazil as an emerging economy: services get more expensive, but do not improve. The bus got more expensive, but there is no justification – they are still overcrowded , they still kill passengers (like in Rio), and they are still running late. Like buses, housing is getting more expensive and not improving. And healthcare is more expensive and not improving. Education is more expensive and not improving. The prices of football tickets are more expensive and there is no improvement.

VIDEO: ‘Vinegar Uprising’ Bus Fare Protests Spread Across Brazil was published in Global Voices Online. The post was written by Fernanda Canofre in collaboration with Débora Baldelli and translated into English by Janet Gunter. Original post in Portuguese: Brasil: Revolta do Vinagre marca o país

Rio also reduces public transportation fare

from Uol

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes announced in a press conference this Wednesday night that the raise in public transportation fare will be revoked. Since the first day of June the bus ticket had raised from R$ 2,75 to R$ 2,95, causing a wave of protests throughout the city. The mayor announced also that the raises from subway tickets (from R$ 3,20 to R$3,50), trains (from R$ 2,90 to R$ 3,10) and ferries (from R$ 4,50 to R$ 4,80) will be repealed as well. According to Paes, the impact on the budget will be of R$ 200 milion per year.


Hi, everyone.

As you may have read, the government of Sao Paulo decided to step back on their decision to raise the bus fare. This is one of the many victories we hope to achieve.

At the moment, many other groups are gathering to protest about other subjects that bother the people… The prohibition of the Public Ministry to investigate political affairs (known as PEC 37), the new text about the “Gay Cure”, health care, education… The list goes a long way.

I’m only one person running this blog and even with the help and support of brazilian readers, I’m not capable to collect every since piece of information and translate it in time. It’s just not possible. 

Don’t worry, the blog is not over, but I won’t post about every little thing that happens back there. If there are major news, yes they’ll be posted here. I just can’t spare more time to it. 

Sorry to disappoint you and I hope to be able to do more in the near future.
Meanwhile, you can try following the blogs: and (mostly in portuguese, but there are some translated texts) 

Thank you :)

Mayor and Governor of SP decide to cancel the bus fare rase

From Estadao

(6:10 pm local time) Governor Geraldo Alckmin attends a press collective at Palácio dos Bandeirantes. “We are going to withdraw the readjustments and go back to R$3,00 on the bus fare. It’s a big sacrifice, we will need to cut many investments”, he said. “We are going to have to deal with these expenses, buckle up, but I understand it is important for the public transportation system and for the people. So we have some tranquility to debate true issues.”

The bus fare went back to R$3,00 as informed by the mayor Fernando Haddad (PT), who follows the governor. “It’s a gesture of proximity, of understanding.” he says, “Now we have to explain the consequences of this gesture regarding the future of our city. We’ll be open to comments so that the city budget will be reconsidered in this new reality.”

Several areas in the suburbs of Sao Paulo are taken by protests against the bus fare raise, since this morning. Pictured above, M’Boi Mirim road in Jardim Angela neighborhood. 
from Midia NinjaYou can watch the live feed of this protest here:

Several areas in the suburbs of Sao Paulo are taken by protests against the bus fare raise, since this morning. Pictured above, M’Boi Mirim road in Jardim Angela neighborhood. 

from Midia Ninja

ou can watch the live feed of this protest here:


Instagrammers Capture Protests in Brazil

Thousands gathered in Brazil’s largest cities starting over the weekend and running through tonight to protest what started as a fight against bus-fare increases and has evolved into one of the biggest movements since the nation’s military dictatorship ended in 1985. Protesters are voicing frustration about a variety of issues, including inflation, government corruption, tax rates and the cost and delays associated with next year’s World Cup soccer tournament.

In São Paulo, thousands took to Avenida Paulista to march and wave Brazilian flags. In Rio de Janeiro, marchers stormed Avenida Rio Branco. In Brasilía, protesters danced atop the roof of the Congresso Nacional. To view more photos, visit the #vemprarua and #protestorj hashtags.

Pardon my Portuguese

*This is a personal opinion, written by the blog ‘owner’ and it’s directed to brazilians everywhere. They are a large chunk of the blog’s public and I’d like to say a few words to them if you, non-brazilian friend, wouldn’t mind*

Isso é para você, brasileiro, que está lendo esse texto. Não importa o que você acredita ou com o que você concorda. Só peço que gaste uns minutinhos aqui, só isso…

O que diabos está acontecendo? Ontem foi um exemplo vergonhoso do que a falta de informação pode fazer com as pessoas. Não sei muito bem de outras cidades pois foi difícil chegar algo aqui que não fosse de SP, então falarei só sobre os paulistas. Veja se isso reflete o que aconteceu na sua cidade. 

Surgiram inúmeros relatos de lojas sendo saqueadas e destruídas, monumentos detonados, a prefeitura atacada, carros de emissoras sendo queimados (assim como a bandeira brasileira)… Tudo em meio a gritos de “Foda-se o Brasil”, “Fora Dilma” e por aí vai.
Chegaram a dar um soco no rosto do jornalista Caco Barcellos.

Você conhece o trabalho dele?

Esse é um cara que foi exilado por ter escrito sobre a corrupção policial. Um cara que está do lado do povo e que foi atacado somente por trabalhar onde trabalha.

Tá tudo errado. 

Lógico que parte do protesto continuou pacificamente, com pessoas pedindo pela redução da tarifa, sem caos. Lindo de verdade. Mas muito menor que os protestos anteriores. Agora parece que é só bagunça e destruição. (Mesmo que tenha partido de pequenos grupos. Eles estavam espalhados mas foram bem efetivos em manchar a imagem da galera, pode acreditar.)

Minha opinião (pessoal, interna, veio dessa caixolinha aqui) é de que se seguirmos nessa toada, vamos entregar a “vitória” de bandeja para o governo. O que era pra ser um ato contra um assunto bem específico virou um caldo de superficialidades e generalidades. 
Eu sei que nosso país ainda tem muito o que melhorar, desde infraestrutura básica até legislações específicas e precisamos de mudanças no controle das ações do governo.

Nossa democracia é novinha e está aprendendo a caminhar… Lembrem-se que a ditadura acabou há mais ou menos uns 30 anos (terminou em 1985), só. 

Tem gente comparando o Brasil a outros países e se esquece que eles tem muito mais anos de história, tiveram muito mais lutas e puderam chegar muito mais longe por isso.

Não se esqueça dos contextos histórico-sociais quando fizer uma comparação. Não é “nerdice”, é bom senso.

Outra coisa: assim como temos muito a aprender com a história de outros povos, precisamos nos atentar que não é uma semana de protestos bagunçados* que vai mudar tudo da água pro vinho. Não é só pelos R$0,20 mas é por eles também.
Agora, mais do que nunca, precisamos focar na redução da tarifa, até conseguirmos alcançar esse objetivo. Só depois, então, vamos fazer outros pedidos, outras passeatas. Ok, pode até ser que tudo isso aconteça ao mesmo tempo, mas tem que ser organizado. 
Todo mundo, eu inclusive, disse que era bobagem definir pautas, estava tudo claro, o povo tinha uma opinião coesa… Ah, “sonho meu”. 
Provou ser exatamente o contrário. 

Então, já que tem gente chegando na história toda que “não sabe brincar”, é hora de sentar, refletir e organizar.

Muitos jovens desinformados acreditam que é só chegar lá, camiseta com estampa da bandeira, gritando “Eu sou brasileiro com muito orgulho, com muito amor” que vai resolver alguma coisa. Renovar estruturas leva tempo, amigos. Dedicação.
Pergunte aos seus amigos mais politizados, se você tiver algum, há quanto tempo eles fazem parte de um movimento.
Tente conhecer as causas espalhadas por sua cidade e aderir aquela que te agrada mais. 
Lute, sim. Mas lute com foco. Atirar pra todos os lados no escuro só vai garantir que você e outras pessoas se machuquem e nada seja resolvido.

Enquanto isso, os políticos assistem a tudo sem se preocupar tanto quanto deveriam porque acreditam que o próprio povo vai acabar por se desmantelar. 

Então prove que eles estão errados. Não dê motivos para ministros dizerem que “Não entendem os motivos do povo”. Abrace uma (ou várias) causa(s) e vá a luta pelo que você acredita e não pelo que te dizem pra lutar.

Se informar é essencial.


* Eu sei que o Movimento Passe Livre é muito bem organizado e que o protesto que foi pra Paulista estava na mais perfeita ordem, na medida do possível. Não me mate. Estou falando da impressão geral que a balbúrdia de ontem passou. Não adianta falar que estava tudo em paz… quem estava de fora ficou apavorado com a mudança de tom dos pequenos grupos revoltados que acabaram estragando a coisa toda pra todo mundo

Be Right Back

Sorry to interrupt the posts, but this is it for tonight.
Almost 3 am here and I need to go.

Tomorrow I’ll post updates on the stories. Just so you know for now, things are eerie in SP. Let’s hope this won’t discredit the movement :/

Good night for all of you.
The fight will continue.