Nothing Can Stop Brazil's Vinegar Revolt, Not Even FIFA

Protesto Rio Janeiro

Protest in Rio de Janeiro on June 17, 2013. By Twitter user Bruno Érnica (@brunoernica)

While Tahiti was scoring a historic goal against Nigeria inside a stadium specially renovated for the FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil's military police helicopters sprayed teargas on [pt] demonstrators protesting increased bus fares in Belo Horizonte.

At the same time, at least 60,000 protesters gathered in São Paulo city and coordinated protests took place in another 10 Brazilian [pt] state capitals on June 17, 2013, as part of the fifth [pt] demonstration called by the Free Fare Movement São Paulo, a group that opposes rising bus fares in Brazil.

The demonstations which started in Sao Paulo, have spread to the whole country and are being called the Vinegar Revolt, ever since protesters used vinegar-soaked cloths to protect themselves from police adamant on dispersing them with teargas on June 13.

Since last year, many protests were launched against bus fare inflation and inadequate public transportation in the country, but these latest protests have more coordination and strength. With the beginning of the Confederations Cup this week, an event which comes before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, protesters are taking to the streets to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the country's infrastructure and the massive amount of public money spent on mega sport events.

Protesto no Rio Revolta do Vinagre

Protesters give flowers to police outside the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, June 16. Photo by Vik Birkbeck Used with permission/Facebook

Challenging mainstream media

Protesters are using social media to change the discourse in mainstream media, where they were first portrayed as ‘vandals’ and then later as ‘protesters‘ [pt]. In a witty text, [pt] Lelê Teles, criticized the way the ‘old media’ attempts to influence behaviour.

A team from the country's largest media network Globo[pt] was booed by protesters in São Paulo and were later banished from the protest.

A campaign was launched where celebrities sported black eyes to pay homage to a journalist [pt] wounded during the protests. The campaign aimed to regain the trust of the public.

Popular celebrities are also joining the movement, Brazilian composer and singer Leoni shared this video on his official YouTube channel with footage of the protests.

Coordinating the protests

Social media has been largely used to spread information about the gatherings. On Facebook [pt], people from at least 30 different Brazilian cities joined the protest call. Alexandre Rosas, coordinator of a guerrilla marketing company called Remix Social Ideas [pt] shared a page with key points of the June 17 event. The list has been shared almost 30,000 from the Anonymous Brasil [pt] Facebook profile and 17,000 times from Rosas Facebook profile where he wrote:

TUDO que você precisa saber sobre a manifestação desta segunda-feira no Largo da Batata e tinha preguiça de procurar. Alguém fez essa compilação completíssima, não sei quem foi, mas agradeço. REPASSEM:

1 – Como protestar e ajudar de casa
2 – Como se comportar no protesto
3 – Orientacões Jurídicas
4 – Evento Oficial e contato com a Coordenação
5 – Material e Suporte Técnico
6 – Como lidar com gás lacrimogêneo e bombas
7 – Primeiros Socorros (pré-durante-pós)
8 – Eventos no Brasil.
9 – Eventos no Mundo.
10 – Ajuda internacional

ALL you need to know about the demonstration happening today in the Largo da Batata and have been lazy too look for. Someone has done this full compilation. I don't know who but I appreciate it. Pass it on:

1 – How to protest and help from home
2 – How to behave in the protest
3 – Legal advice
4 – Official Event and the Coordinators contact
5 – Material and Technical Support
6 – How to deal with tear gas and bombs
7 – First Aid (pre-during-after)
8 – Events in Brazil
9 – Events in the World
10 – International Assistance

The Facebook page of Brazilian cartoonist Laerte, asked people around the world to schedule protests for June 18, in solidarity with Brazilians. The list of cities joining the protests can be seen on his page:

“Baderneiros” de todo mundo organizam para incentivar “baderneiros” Brasileiros.

Nessa segunda-feira, 17 de Junho de 2013, o Brasil vai parar pra arrumar a casa. E nessa terça-feira, 18 de Junho de 2013, o mundo também vai parar com MANIFESTAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS EM SOLIDARIEDADE ao Brasil…

“Troublemakers” all over the world get together to encourage Brazilians “troublemakers” .
This Monday, June 17, 2013, Brazil will stop to tidy up the house. And this Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the world will also stop with INTERNATIONAL EVENTS IN SOLIDARITY with Brazil

The hashtags #passelivre and #MOBajuda were used on Facebook and other social media platforms for the protests. In case of emergency, lawyer Igor Santos explained how to use them sharing a comment on page MobilizadosSP  (Mobilized People São Paulo) [pt]:

Galera, estamos montando um grupo que irá monitorar as redes sociais durante o protesto na segunda-feira.
O intuito é ajudar os manifestantes que precisarem de alguma coisa, informações sobre os pontos sem conflito potencial, e rotas livres, socorro aos que estiverem feridos ou que precisarem de um abrigo por qualquer motivo.
A tag será #MOBAjuda é uma tag de EMERGÊNCIA! Portanto, só usem durante a manifestação para este fim!

Folks, we are setting up a group that will keep track of all social media networks during the protest on Monday.
The aim is to help the demonstrators who need anything, as information on the spots with no potential conflict and free routes, as well as aid to those who are wounded or  for any reason needs shelter. The tag will be #MOBAjuda It’s an EMERGENCY tag! Therefore, only use it during the demonstration for this purpose!

Protest in Sao Paolo on June 17, 2013. By Twitter user and journalist Maíra Kubík Mano

Protest in Sao Paolo on June 17, 2013. By Journalist and Twitter user Maíra Kubík Mano(@mairakubik)

Brazilians have been using various hashtags for the protests on Twitter. What started as pimentavsvinagre (pepper vs. vinegar) on June 13 has already being replaced by other phrases such as  #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoébobo (Take Down the Globo Media Network The People Are Not Stupid) and #HACKEIAG1 (Hack the G1- a Globo News Website) as a way to criticize the company coverage of recent events. Lately,  the hashtag #VEMPRARUAPVH (Come To The Streets), #ProtestoRJ (Protest Rio de Janeiro) and #ProtestoSP (Protest São Paulo) are now the most used.

Teenager JulianaMDV (@JulianaMDV) says:

@JulianaMDV: O gás que os policiais usavam tava vencido, pq acharam que o povo ia continuar cego, surdo e mudo #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoébobo <ahref=””>#VEMPRARUAPVH

The gas the police used was out-of-date because they thought that the population would carry on being blind, death and mute #HACKEIAG1 #VEMPRARUAPVH #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoébobo

Twitter user Lize Pereira (@Lizersp) remarks:

@Lizersp: Essa #redeglobo deixa a copa pra la! Me conte mais sobre o protesto!! #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoéBobo

This #redeglobo leaves the world cup aside! Tell me more about the protest!! #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoéBobo

The fake profile of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista (@EikeBatiiista) ironically says:

@EikeBatiiista: Brasil ja tem um estadio de 1° mundo, agora só falta construir um pais em volta dele #HACKEIAG1 #VEMPRARUAPVH #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoébobo

Brazil ‘s already got a 1st world stadium, now it only needs to build a country around it #HACKEIAG1 #VEMPRARUAPVH #AbaixoRedeGloboPovoNaoébobo

no Rio/Revolta do Vinagre

“FIFA World Cup= BLR 33 billion, Olympic Games= BLR 26 billion, Corruption = BLR 50 billion, Minimum wage = BLR 678, you think this is because of BLR 0.20 cents?” Protester outside the Maracanã Stadium, Rio on June 16 2013. Photo by Vik Birkbeck. Used with permission/Facebook

On Sunday, however, the hashtag that reached Brazilian trending topics was #todarevolucaocomecacomumafaisca (Every Revolution Starts With a Spark) and some are still using it to refer to the series of protests. Twitter user Galdino Toscano(@galdinotoscano) posted a picture saying:

@galdinotoscano: Vem pra rua, porque a rua é a maior arquibancada do Brasil! #TodaRevoluçaoComeçaComUmaFaísca

Come out to the streets because the streets are Brazil’s biggest stadium stand! #TodaRevoluçaoComeçaComUmaFaísca

Twitter user Maris Juana (@Ishouldrink) said:

Hoje é dia de sair de branco pelas ruas da sua cidade, vamos lutar pelo futuro da nossa nação, juntos. #TodaRevoluçaoComeçaComUmaFaísca

Today is the day to go to the streets of your city wearing white. Let’s fight for the future of our nation, together.#TodaRevoluçaoComeçaComUmaFaísca

Twitter user Bruno Érnica (@brunoernica) published the picture yesteday saying:

@brunoernica: GENTE, olha esse reflexo na fachada de um prédio na manifestação do Rio, no centro da cidade! #ProtestoRJ

@brunoernica:PEOPLE, look at this reflection on a building front of the manifestation in Rio, at the city center! # ProtestoRJ

Protests in Curitiba city (State of Paraná). From Busao Curitiba's Facebook Page. June 17, 2013.

Protests in Curitiba city, (State of Paraná). From Busao Curitiba's Facebook Page. June 17, 2013.

Root of the protests

On her blog, United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik highlights that Brazil's public transport system is inefficient because it is controled by an oligopoly system with the consent of the municipality local powers:

É importante lembrar, aliás, que, historicamente, em muitas cidades do país, concessionárias de ônibus têm envolvimento com práticas de cartelização, de desvios de recursos, de controle político de câmaras municipais etc….

Engana-se quem pensa que as pessoas estão nas ruas de São Paulo protestando por causa de 20 centavos. As pessoas estão hoje nas ruas dizendo algo muito parecido com o que a população de Istambul está clamando na Praça Taksim: estão falando do direito à cidade, do direito de se manifestar sobre as decisões relacionadas ao lugar onde vivem.

It is important to remember, in fact, that, historically, in many cities across the country, municipal bus consortiums act like cartels, misappropriate resources, politically control town halls etc ….

It is wrong to thinks that people are on the streets of São Paulo to protest 20 cents. People are on the streets today to say something very similar to what the population of Istanbul in Taksim is crying out for : they're talking about the rights of the city, the right to speak out about decisions related to where they live…

André Araújo shares similar thoughts on Journalist Luis Nassig's blog:

O setor de ônibus municipais é fechado em um pequeno grupo de empresários antiquados e acostumados a um casamento com a baixa política municipal, aliança que vem desde os anos 40.

Se o Movimento Passe Livre quer realmente uma solução melhor para o setor o caminho e acabar com esse conluio viciado entre prefeitos e câmaras com os empresários de ônibus. Isso é o que está por debaixo dos panos, é porisso que o setor não se renova, usa ônibus com carrocerias de caminhão, serviços ruins, explora motoristas e cobradores, tem manutenção péssima…

The municipal bus sector is made of a small group of antiquated entrepreneurs used to engaging in lowly municipal politics, an alliance that dates back to the 1940s.

If the Free Pass Movement really wants a better solution for this industry, the way is to end with this outdated collusion between mayors, municipal chambers and bus business people. This is what is behind the scenes, that's why the industry doesn't improve, it uses bus with lorry bodies, bad service, exploits drivers and collectors, and has bad maintenance [standards].

Protests took place in Belém, Fortaleza, Maceió, Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Vitória, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

This post was written in collaboration with Danielle Martins, Luis Henrique, Debora Baldelli and Juan .



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