“As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.
The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators climbed onto the roof of Brazil’s Congress building and then stormed it.”
Though it’s hard to tell, I think the protests in Turkey played a large role in the formation of this wave of demonstrations. In countries such as Turkey and Brazil there’s a deep-seeded discontent bubbling beneath the surface of society and all it takes is one trigger to bring it to the surface. Sometimes it comes from government overreach and other times its sparked by events on the other side of the world.
Similar to the situation in Turkey, this protest also comes at a particularly precarious moment for Brazil. The country is set to host the soccer World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2016. In the lead up to these events the government has been trying to crack down on violence in the major cities.
To this end, the government has been focusing on the many urban favelas, which are slums that are notorious for criminal activity and drug use. In some favelas there has been an effort towards gentrification, with a marked increase in police presence and social services. However, many others are being shut down completely, and not always with the consultation of the residents.
Hopefully the Brazilian government will take a different approach to these protests than the Turkish leadership. Hopefully.