By now the major protests and demonstrations that have been occurring in São Paulo and across Brazil for the past couple weeks have reached the international news. It’s been amazing being able to experience this historic moment right in the heart of everything. A week and a half ago, June 17th, there was a demonstration that started literally right outside my apartment. By the end of the night 65,000 people had gathered and started to peacefully march toward Paulista Avenue and Marginal Pinheiros.
The protests were originally about the increase in the metro fare (from R$3 to R$3.40), but after an incidence of unprovoked police violence on the demonstrators, they turned into much more. Now, the protestors are calling for democracy, accountability, increased spending on public services, and the like; the demonstrations have become a platform for a variety of ideas and causes. The government has responded by reducing the metro fares back to what they previously were in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as well as promising to address some of the more general issues mentioned above. The protestors are not stopping, though—more demonstrations are planned for later this afternoon. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out… protests of this scale have not happened in Brazil in a couple decades! My roommate, for one, is glad that the people of Brazil are “waking up” and becoming politically engaged.