Riots sweep across Brazil in response to police violence

A short overview of the wave of rioting which has swept Brazil in the wake of violent police repression of routine protests over the increased costs of public transport.

Submitted by Davi on June 14, 2013

I'm not sure if it might of interest for other people, and I unfortunately don't have much time to post updates and research about this particular issue, but the city of São Paulo, in Brazil, is going through some major riots these past few days. At first I didn't think it deserved much attention, because rioting like this happens every year when the public transportation fares are adjusted in many cities of the country, but somehow this time things grew to such an extent that public demonstrations were being aired live on TV yesterday.

It all started with the increase in public transportation fares a few days ago, with the price going to R$3.20, roughly about 1.20 euros. Then, as usual, people went to the streets, closed big avenues, and were strongly repressed. However, police brutality is so evident and indiscriminate that things are getting bigger every day, especially since yesterday's demos, when lots of journalists were targeted by the police, even those from the more conservative media. As São Paulo is such a huge city and the economic heart of Brazil, what happens in there hits the headlines with great magnitude, and right now the whole country is talking about it. I'm not sure whether this struggle will manage to hold on its feet or whether it can bring improvements to our lives, but the thing is: just like in Turkey the park was not the only cause, in here a 20 cents increase in prices is probably just the spark as well. Truth is, living in Brazil is getting extremely expensive, especially for those in the main cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, and especially if you take into consideration the fact that half the population earns only up to a minimum wage, roughly 250 euros. Besides, the fact that the Confederations Cup is right ahead, the World Cup is next year, with all the huge amounts of money being spent on stadiums while the economy is not growing and things are not getting better, all of this accounts for a generalized feeling of "things must change". This brief text from CNN international says it better than me, I guess.

So far we've had, besides the usual repression, a very interesting case of a policeman breaking his own car to blame demonstrators, caught on video:

Then there were also arrests of people because they carried vinegar with them to cope with the effects of tear gas, which the police said could be used to fabricate explosives. A justification like this is so surreal that some call the current riots "The Salad Uprising". Good overall information in English can be seen on the tumblr below:

Well, I can't write more about the subject right now, and it would be great if someone from São Paulo could give a better account on the situation as a whole, but I just thought it would be interesting at least to let people know that another emergent market is going to the streets these days.