BRAZIL. Rio de Janeiro. February 2017. An anti-government demonstrator walks past a burning bus after clashing with riot police during a protest against the state government’s plan to limit public spending.
BRAZIL. Rio de Janeiro. February 2017. Demonstrators with fireworks stand behind a barricade during clashes with police as they denounce a proposal by the government to privatise the state’s water and sewerage company.
BRAZIL. Rio de Janeiro. March 15, 2017. A young man skateboards move in front of a fire set by protesters following a demonstration against proposed federal government reforms. Critics say the changes would reduce job security for Brazilian workers and the pension proposal would force many people to work longer to qualify for pensions and reduce retirement benefits for many.
I really hope everything goes well to all of you guys! We already went through it and I myself went to the streets and saw people being arrested for fighting for what they believe in and justice. Please don't lose hope now, don't be quiet now, be brave and believe things will be better. In times like this we need to help each other. // Love and kisses from Brazil.
Thank you so, so much for your support!!! I’ve heard in the crowd how one guy gave Brazilian people as an example of persistence and courage in political confrontation to his friend. Thank you for being strong!
BRAZIL. August 29, 2016. Protests erupt in Brazil over its president’s impeachment trial. [Part 2]
(1) Protesters demonstrate against President Michel Temer at Avenida Paulista, in the centre of São Paulo. Photograph: Fabio Vieira/FotoRua/NurPhoto
(2) Demonstrators march holding a “Temer Out” banner during a rally in support of Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff and against acting President Michel Temer in São Paulo. Photograph: Andre Penner/AP
(3) Police fire tear gas at demonstrators. Photograph: Andre Penner/AP
(4) A demonstrator is detained by the police during a rally in support of Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff and against acting President Michel Temer in São Paulo. Photograph: Andre Penner/AP
(5) Demonstrators shout slogans. Photograph: Andre Penner/AP
(6) Supporters of Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff protest in front of the Brazilian Congress during the final session of debate at Rousseff’s impeachment trial in Brasilia. Photograph: Adriano Machado/Reuters
(7) Rousseff supporters hold a demonstration during the impeachment trial in São Paulo. Photograph: Cris Faga/NurPhoto
Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday voted to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office, the culmination of a yearlong fight that paralysed Latin America’s largest nation and exposed deep rifts among its people on everything from race relations to social spending.
While Rousseff’s ousting was widely expected, the decision was a key chapter in a colossal political struggle that is far from over. Rousseff was Brazil’s first female president, with a storied career that includes a stint as a Marxist guerrilla jailed and tortured in the 1970s during the country’s dictatorship. She was accused of breaking fiscal laws in her management of the federal budget.
“The Senate has found that the president of the federal republic of Brazil, Dilma Vana Rousseff, committed crimes in breaking fiscal laws,” said Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who presided over the trial. (AP)
We’ve had elections for mayors and you could say we screwed up pretty bad. Three of our main capitals, São Paulo, Rio and Florianópolis, ended up with, respectively, literally-miniature-Trump (I mean it, the guy was even the host of The Apprentice here), religious-ultraconservative-leader (who did imply once gays come from failed abortions and that women’s role is to be submissive), aaand man who said, and I quote, “I have vomited after smelling The Poor”. And tbh I can’t remember any of the other capitals having got much better people either, but what’s really striking is that there were better options in most of them. Also, a HUGE number of people didn’t vote, even though it’s mandatory, which might have had influence on those results (when I say huge number I mean some of the winning candidates were outnumbered by the blank, annulled and absent votes. Yeah.)
Schools & Government violence
Over a thousand schools and universities were occupied by students these past weeks, in protest against the new government’s projects (austerity measures that seek to freeze spending in health and education and wages for up to 20 years and changing schools curriculum - I might explain this in more detail later if anybody’s interested). They have no support from the media, that is portraying them as invaders and vandals, and therefore low support from the population. Here’s where it gets dirty: after students decided not to follow a court order of repossession in a school last week, a judge ordered police to stop food, water, power and any other family or friends of these students from reaching the school and to use sleep deprivation techniques - yes, that is, by law, a torture method and was commonly used during the dictatorship. I also need to remind everybody: these are students. Most of which aren’t even off-age yet. The most famous of them all is sixteen. The situation is beyond fucked up and that hardly even shows in the paper. Some students in another school were handcuffed and taken to a station the other day, also minors. In other potentially scary related news, a few actors were arrested in São Paulo last week in the middle of a performance that was considered “disrespectful to the State and the Police”. Actors were later released and government is saying they’ll investigate the officers responsible, but, really, the fact that people were pretty violently handcuffed and arrested for making a mock-play of the government scares me to death.
There’s plenty more happening here, especially regarding laws and politicians, but I feel like these are the most important points now and the easiest to explain. I might write later again about the government projects, but you can hit me up with questions about in the meantime too. Please keep Brazil in your thoughts, again. We’re not having an easy year.
Over the weekend, #NotGoingtoBrazil and #NoVoyABrasilPorque became populist hotbeds of anger and frustration at the Brazilian government. While these hashtags are certainly reminiscent of #SochiProblems, the tweets are less focused on unfinished hotels and toilet troubles and more on the underlying political and infrastructural problems that have plagued this World Cup.
Yesterday, about a hundred thousand people hit the streets of São Paulo alone (more protests happened in Rio, Curitiba, Salvador and other cities). During the evening, everything went fine. The majority of the protesters were young, but there were parents with their children and elderly people too. The call is to take down new president Michel Temer, who took office this week after president Dilma Rousseff was impeached under some more than fragile circumstances (I’ve explained that here) and have new elections. The protest was peaceful. At night, when people started to head to the subway to go home, one station was closed and out of nowhere police started throwing gas bombs at the protesters. Police alleged it was called to solve a situation of vandalism on the subway, but subway security denied ever having called them or anything having happened. There were bombs thrown at people inside restaurants, there were people who weren’t even at the protest arrested and charged, and there were people hurt. Some say evidence has been planted at the protests after people had left to make it seem more violent and destructive and therefore discourage people from coming. NOTHING at that protest could have justified violence, and yet that’s what happened. Brazil’s not ok. This is not ok. We’re afraid and the future of our so called democracy seems uncertain. Please keep an eye on us.