Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chronology of events

1. A small movement becomes big (10-14 June)
Around two weeks ago a relatively small group of people start protesting in relation to a small increase in the public transport fares (0,20 reais) in major cities. The police of São Paulo uses force against the small movement while the local press portrays the movement as vandals. Different people start sharing videos on the excesses of the police which, added to a general insatisfaction with local politicians and parliamentarians, is the beginning of larger non-party protests in different capitals.

2. Dilma is booed in the opening of the confederations cup (15 June).
While the movement causes were yet to be clear, during the inauguration speech for the FIFA confederations cup president Dilma is booed by the crowd. While the gesture can be viewed as expressing insatisfaction with the way the organization of the 2014 World Cup is being handled, this was disseminated to the whole country passing a clear message of insatisfaction to the entire country.

3. The causes for the protest start to become clear (17-19 June).
From big causes like corruption, more hospitals, better transport system and mismanagement related to the events, some consensus is brought to (more) specific areas while protests continued to increase in gathering millions of people in different cities in Brazil and abroad.

4. Absence of leadership (17-20 June)
While the press widely portrays the protests as riots, public places and shops were vandalized by a minority and governmental buildings were occupied in different cities. There is a general tension among politicians which until then have not expressed any reaction to the protests, other than canceling the increase in the price of the public transports, and see them as jeopardizing their big show - The world cup - and their stakes in the elections next year.

5. Police excess continues (20-21 June)
In cities, particularly in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Salvador where football matches for the FIFA Confederations Cup were taking place, the police uses excessive force in containing protesters. Videos showing armored cars, rubber and real bullets fired against peaceful and disarmed protesters circulated on the internet. Tear gaz was widely used including inside one of the biggest hospitals in Rio. For many these videos brings back painful memories of tactics of repression used during the dictatorship (1964-1985). The local press decides to ignore the police abuses and decides to focus on (relatively) smaller riots and violent protests. For some these riots look suspicious and manipulative as no one really knows what is behind these and how they cannot be halted by a police that seemed to have no problem using the force.

6. The president speaks (21 June)
After a meeting with the former president Lula and her image advisor, President Dilma addresses the country in a speech calling for calm and generally addressing many of the points raised at the protests. For many this is enough to bring a halt to the movement, while for others she fails to show true leadership, continuing to ignore the excesses of the police, the many cases of corruption and lack of representativity that calls for a greater reform in to the political system.

to be continued...

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