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Why Hundreds of Thousands are Demonstrating in the Streets of Brazil

20 Jun
 Protesters fill the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Protesters fill the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Photo

by Rodrigo Nunes / Al Jazeera

Brazil has been roiled by protests in recent weeks. At first, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country to protest bus and subway fare hikes and demand free public transportation.

Rather than scare people off, the heavy-handed police reaction helped stir things up. In Sao Paulo alone, 235 people were arrested last Thursday – many for carrying vinegar to minimise the effects of tear gas. Reports abounded of police brutality and provocation, including a policeman caught on camera vandalising his own vehicle.

Brazil’s corporate media, which until then had vilified demonstrators and called for forceful policing, changed its tune when seven journalists working for one of the country’s biggest newspapers were hurt. Two of them were shot in the face with rubber bullets. Protesters went home chanting: “Tomorrow it will be bigger.”

Indeed it was bigger. Continue reading