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One Dead as Massive Wave of Protests Sweeps Across Brazil

A young man was killed after he was hit by a car in Ribeirao Preto and dozens were hurt in confrontations with the police in BrasiliaRio de Janeiro, and Salvador as more than a million people took to the streets of large and small cities throughout Brazil in the biggest protests seen in the country in two decades.

The national force had also been deployed to Belo Horizonte and Fortaleza, the other cities hosting games in FIFA's Confederations Cup, and helped counter the protests on June 20, 2013.

Despite the focus on violence, the majority of the demonstrations were peaceful. In this second week of national protests, which began over a rise in bus fare prices, the demonstrations happened in more than 100 places despite the reduction of bus fare in many cities, including major capitals such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, showing that “it was not just about 20 cents”.

VemPraRua Rio de Janeiro

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Tomás Pinheiro (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marcos Delafrate, an 18 year-old man, was killed in a hit-and-run collision [pt] by a driver who was trying to go through a crowd of 25,000 peaceful protesters in Ribeirao Preto, state of Sao Paulo. As the crowd resisted and asked the Black Land Rover owner to go back, the driver accelerated the car and run over at least twelve people. The video posted by the user ViTvHd2 shows (at 1'40″) the moment and reports that the car's plate number was KVB 6963:

A country at war?

Conflicts between the protesters and police forces left hundreds wounded in several cities. In the national capital Brasilia, police started to shoot teargas and rubber bullets as an attempt to end the demonstration when a group of unarmed protesters [pt] tried to occupy governmental buildings. As shown in this video, a minority of protesters responded to the use of weapons by setting fire in front of the Itamaraty Palace, the headquarters of the Ministry of External Relations. The video below shows the other side of the Itamaraty:

Its author, Ocupa Brasilia [pt] explained:

Ao contrario do que a mídia anda veiculado; Uma parte dos manifestantes tentavam mobilizar outros para irem ao Congresso; Sendo que existe duas pontes/entradas e em uma delas tinha uma concentração maior de vândalos. Acabou que todos nós fomos surpreendidos com bombas de lacrimogênio e balas de borrachas; Sendo que um dos manifestantes levou um tiro bem próximo e direto em sua coxa, ficando a bala alojada até que foi levado pelo corpo de bombeiros.

Contrary to what the mainstream media has been broadcasting, some of the protesters were trying to mobilize others to go to Congress; There are two bridges/entries and one of them had a higher concentration of vandals. It turns out that we were all surprised with tear bombs and rubber bullets; One protester close [to me] was shot directly in his thigh, and had a bullet lodged until he was taken away by the fire brigate.

In Salvador, protesters faced much violence in a march that began peaceful. The demonstration turned sour when the crowd advanced towards the local stadium, where Uruguay was playing against Nigeria for the Confederations Cup. An official local government car with plate number OKU 8877 was taped firing gun shots – according to the author of the video, Felipe Amorim [pt], it was not rubber bullet. The video has thousands of shares and comments, among which witness Berlindo Ribeiro Reis, who confirmed:

eu tava la e vir tudo a Policia desceu a porrada e granada e Bala em todo mundo nao quis nem saber se tinha criança , mulher gravida

I was there and saw it all. The police came down beating up and throwing grenades in everyone, they didn't want to know whether it was children, pregnant woman

In Rio de Janeiro, conflicts between police and protesters were also registered by citizen reporters. Some netizens claimed that real weapons were used against people throughout the city. Chico Freitas [pt] reported on Facebook:

Houve guerra no Rio hoje. Um milhão de manifestantes. A polícia atacou sem pena, antes de fazermos qualquer outra coisa além de protestar, sem vandalismo. Nos cercaram em todo o centro da cidade. Usaram armas letais e não-letais, fecharam as estações de metrô e oprimiram quem tentava pegar a barca. Jogaram bombas da prefeitura até o sambódromo, nos encurralaram na Avenida Presidente Vargas, conseguimos ir até a Praça Tiradentes e vimos na TV de um bar que o Choque estava indo pra lá. Corremos em direção à Lapa e soubemos que estavam jogando bombas de gás até em crianças que brincavam por lá, então fomos pela Avenida Chile até a Cinelândia. Lá o pessoal se aglomerava de novo, em frente ao Theatro Municipal. Até que se aproximaram os carros do Choque e jogaram bombas. Me perdi do meu pessoal. Corremos todos pro aterro do Flamengo. Lá eu vi o ônibus pra Niterói e peguei. Do ônibus vi que estavam lançando bombas no aterro também. A polícia não vai deixar ninguém ir a lugar algum, aonde quer que o povo vá, eles irão atrás com opressão. Hoje a polícia foi mais violenta do que nunca. Foram truculentos, atrozes, trouxeram medo e terror. A polícia que é paga pra proteger o povo. #protestorj #ogiganteacordou #revoltadovinagre #thegiantwokeup #vemprarua #changebrazil #rio #brasil #brazil

Today, Rio was at war. One million protesters took to the streets. The police attacked without sympathy, before we were even able to do any other thing besides protesting, there was no vandalism. They surrounded us at the city center. They used lethal and non-lethal weapons, they closed the metro stations and oppressed those who were trying to catch the ferry. They threw bombs at us, from the city hall to the Sambadrome, they trapped us at Avenida Presidente Vargas, we were able to go to Praça Tiradentes and there we saw on the TV in a bar, the riot troops were going there. We run towards Lapa and learned they were throwing tear gas even at the children who were playing there, so we went via Avenida Chile to Cinelandia. There, people were gathering again in front of Municipal Theater. Until the Riot Police’s vehicles got closer and threw bombs. I got lost from my friends. We all run to Flamengo’s area. There, I saw a bus to Niteroi and embarked on it. From the bus, I saw they were throwing teargas there as well. The police will never allow anyone to go anywhere, wherever people go, they will follow with oppression. Today, the police was more violent than ever. They were truculent, atrocious, they brought fear and terror. The police, that is paid to protect the people.  #protestorj #ogiganteacordou #revoltadovinagre #thegiantwokeup #vemprarua #changebrazil #rio #brasil#brazil

A country in peace

The images below show peaceful protests in many other part of the country:

Demonstration in Jaraguá do Sul, state of Santa Catarina, photo published by Chan360 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Demonstration in Jaraguá do Sul, Santa Catarina, photo published by Chan360 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Demonstration under rain in Cascavel, state of Parana. Photo by Alexander Hugo Tártari, published with a Creative Commons license.

Demonstration in the rain in Cascavel, state of Parana. Photo by Alexander Hugo Tártari (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

VemPraRua BH

Large protest in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. Photo by Maria Objetiva (CC BY-SA 2.0)

VemPraRua Recife

Recife, Pernambuco state. Photo by Rostand Costa (CC BY 2.0)

VemPraRua Sao Luis

São Luis, Maranhão. Photo by Kika Campos. (CC BY 2.0)

VemPraRua Natal

Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state. Photo by Isaac Ribeiro (CC BY-SA 2.0)

More demonstrations

The president Dilma Roussef has called an emergency meeting with the ministers for today, Friday, June 21, to evaluate the protests’ effects and how the national government shall operate from now on. As the Confederations Cup continues, more protests are already scheduled in several cities for the upcoming days.

Written in collaboration with Paula Góes

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