Yesterday an event was held in São Paulo known as Segunda-feira Branca, “White Monday” as 65,000 or more São Paulo residents took to the streets in protest. Protests were also held in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, and Belo Horizonte. Many believe Monday’s protest was the biggest yet, with hundreds of thousands of protesters. “White Monday” was the biggest protest in 20 years!
Such a violent country, and YES, Brazil is in the news again regarding protests and violence here! This time it is the protests turning violent and police using rubber bullets and spraying tear gas into the crowds. Last Thursday’s protests over a hundred people were injured. These protests are actually considered “friendly demonstrations” “Peaceful demonstrations are legitimate,” President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement. “It is natural for the young to demonstrate.” HOWEVER, I wouldn’t consider them friendly when people are getting injured or killed, fires are being started. The “day after” there are lots of tell tale signs in the streets of what went on and I would not consider it peaceful or friendly!
Brazilians have mainly been protesting two things in the last week: the rise in cost of public transportation costs and the exorbitant costs associated with Brazil hosting the World Cup and the Olympics. I guess in the eyes of Brazilians now seems like a good time to protest when all eyes are on Brazil with the Confederations Cup games right now. They want a change, they want a difference for their country and they want the WORLD to see. Bus fares rose 7% in Brazil, from 3 reals to 3.20. While this price hike (only 20¢) may seem trivial, many of the poorest citizens in Brazil could already not afford to pay for transportation.
The 2014 World Cup will cost Brazil an estimated $18 billion, while some say much higher at $30 billion. This does not include the money they will spend on the Olympics two years later . Twelve different stadiums will host World Cup games, with prices of construction ranging in the hundreds of millions. While these events will help the economy, others believe this money could be better spent helping to help the poor and care for the sick. The protests have also criticized the conduct of Brazilian politics, the corruption, and public works spending for the Confederations Cup, and poor education. Either way, whatever the issues at hand and whatever is on the minds of Brazilians, they’ve taken to the streets. They WANT a difference, are DEMANDING a difference, they want CHANGE now, and this is THE WAY they’re doing it!
I am just so thankful that we don’t have any trips to Rio or São Paulo scheduled before we go ( well just to the airport next week). I guess it’s times like these I am very thankful I live in the small city of Resende.