Riots in Brazil: updates and discussion

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Joined: 11-02-07
Jul 3 2013 22:34

Interview with the OASL about the protests in Brazil

Joined: 3-03-11
Jul 6 2013 00:13

Ok, I thought I wouldn't have much else to tell about the current wave of protests around Brazil, but things keep happening and new qualities are joining what's already happening. Again, please, I can only speak for myself and my short-sighted perceptions, so if anybody can correct me or write down some more consistent opinions, I'll be glad to learn.

Across the country, this past week had its usual street marches, much, much less crowded compared to the ones two weeks ago, and I thought they would be over soon. Other than this, there were bus and truck driver's strikes in some cities, which caused significant delays in transportation. On July 1, something really bizarre took place: an ordinary guy decided to invite the country for a general strike from Facebook, without any connection to unions or whatever, and more than half a million people signed it. However, being a mere Facebook event, it confused many people. I myself didn't give it much attention, even though my bosses at work seemed a bit excited about the possibility of such an event, and I really didn't expect anything unusual on Monday. But my brother didn't go to work, a few commercial places were kept closed (I can only talk about my own city), and many schools decided not to open. It was really, really bizarre.

Speaking of general strike, on July 11 the biggest Brazilian unions, CUT, Força, UGT, CGTB, etc., are calling for a day of protests, strikes, marches and more in order to push for their own agenda with many items, including the reduction of work hours from 44 to 40 a week. I think it's going to be a big day, as hopefully there will be lots of people on the streets. Everyday I'm hearing of new professional categories joining the general strike.

I don't know very well what's going on in the main cities of the country, but in Vitória the latest protests focused a big part of their attention to a very specific situation: the toll fees we have to pay to use the main bridge connecting Vitória to Vila Velha. It's a very important connection, and not only it's expensive to cross it, it also causes a lot of congestion in very important parts of both cities, as it's not on the outskirts, but in quite central areas.

Two weeks ago, on the biggest march of all, all the toll booths were smashed by protesters, and the company responsible for its operation was forced to liberate traffic without charging anything (they tried to charge the prices manually and even advised drivers to avoid using the bridge), so people had the chance to experience the crossing without the annoyance of paying for it and I guess it opened the path for new hopes. I'm probably exaggerating it, but that's how I felt, I can't deny. Anyway, somehow, one day, it started to spread the news that there was a project to be voted on the State's Legislative Assembly (I'm not sure if I can translate these terms correctly, I apologize for it) that could eliminate the need to pay the toll of the bridge, and all attentions then turned to the deputies in the Assembly. I really cannot tell the real nature of this decree, as it all came too sudden and I couldn't find reliable material on it, to know if it's really, really possible to do what it says, as the company in charge of the bridge (Rodosol) would never accept such a thing peacefully, but the thing is: on the day the project was to be voted, the Legislative Assembly was packed with people aggressively watching on all politicians in there.

When it was the time to vote it, though, the first one to speak said they needed more time to consider it, and so the voting was postponed. The people watching became really angry, broke doors and invaded the House Presidency Office, keeping an occupation in there since then. They said they'll only leave it when the project is voted. Politicians said they'll only vote it if the office gets freed. People are taking food and more stuff to the occupiers every day.

Yesterday there was a new march from both Vitória and Vila Velha, set to reunite on the Legislative Assembly, which is right next to the bridge of discontent. I couldn't go there, but people say the arrival at the occupation gave everybody a great sense of unity, even though there were just about 2,000 people in the crowd. They then marched to the toll booths, now heavily guarded by the police, and amazingly five toll booths got smashed again, even with all the police repression that took place. In fact, police brutality is again pissing everybody, probably because now that there are less people on the streets, they have to make sure to kill the movement once and for all, even though police violence has always been there anyway. You can read a short description of yesterday's drama on this link:

The most amazing thing yesterday is that the police started forcing a part of the people to cross the bridge, speeding them up with a rain of tear gas canisters, surrounding them and even turning the lights off in the middle of the bridge!!

They then began searching for people, erasing photos, harassing others and the usual police stuff. So now it remains to be seen what will happen in Vitória in the next days, as there will be new marches next week, on the same day of the general strike, and people will certainly keep trying to push for the extinction of the bridge's toll fee.

Joined: 28-10-09
Jul 6 2013 03:56

Davi, thanks! In my opinion, your comments deserve a place on Libcom as saparate articles/ blog pieces or whatever. Keep it up, and stay well!

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
Joined: 4-05-08
Jul 6 2013 10:28

Your stories are great, keep writing!

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Jul 6 2013 19:55

Agreed, blog it up, comrade.

fidel gastro
Joined: 15-04-08
Jul 8 2013 16:27

Yeah you're posts are awesome Davi, I read them alot. You should have your own blog mate.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Jul 8 2013 17:34

Yes, thanks very much Davi for these continued updates, and no need to be so apologetic: we are all just ordinary people who happen to be anarchists!

I hope you don't mind but your comment deserves a wider readership so I have turned it into a blog entry here:

if you want to post future updates in detail you now have a libcom blog so you can just click "submit content - blog entry" to post more. And I hope you do, especially with what happens with your local protests against the toll bridge and with the strikes

Joined: 3-03-11
Jul 8 2013 23:43

Oh, wow, thanks guys for the feedback! I had never thought about this possibility of a blog, so it was surprising to see it suggested to me. There will probably be some stuff happening on Thursday, so I'll try to go to the protests here in Vitória and then read whatever news I find to let you know how this situation will come to an end. It's a bit sad to see the movement fading, as it would be great to see it growing even more, but as its main focus was transportation, and as there were victories and new discussions brought by it (including the case of my city's bridge), I guess it was a very, very positive and remarkable event to us all.

Joined: 8-01-11
Jul 18 2013 10:25

Paulinia, Brazil is the first city to enact a zero transportation fare following wave of protests across the country:

Well done everyone! So jelly lol.

Joined: 11-02-07
Sep 1 2013 10:34

Over the past few years unprecedented large-scale movements have challenged states across the globe. From Tahrir Square in Cairo to Zuccotti Park in New York City, and most recently, the streets of Brazil. Common to all is the widespread use of social media in organizing and articulating protests. Through Twitter and Facebook, local movements now have the technological ability to transcend limits of space, time and resources. With its stark inequality and low quality public services, Brazil, given its hyper-connectivity, as the world’s second biggest user of both Twitter and Facebook, was a shoe-in for next-in-line.

How does the use of social media change the structure of today’s social movements and Brazil’s in particular? On June 3, Zeynep Tufekci posted on DMLcentral, in the midst of Turkey’s wave of demonstrations, eight preliminary characteristics of what she calls the “networked movement.” Here we use Tufekci’s chacteristics as a starting point for analysis of what is happening in Brazil...

Read on: 'eight characteristics of social media fueled movements'