Brazil: The largest anti-government demonstrations in 20 years, according to news analysts, have continued for five days in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and eight other cities. News reports said 65,000 people demonstrated in Sao Paulo and over 100,000 marched in Rio. Social networking enabled coordinated marches in Sao Paulo, Rio and Belo Horizonte. Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful.
President Dilma Rousseff said in a brief statement, “Peaceful demonstrations are legitimate and part of democracy. It is natural for young people to demonstrate.”
Comment: An increase in the cost of public transportation in Sao Paulo sparked the first demonstrations, which flash mob tactics swelled. As the demonstrations spread, demonstrators said they were protesting government corruption, poor economic conditions, criminal violence and lack of public safety, official spending for the Olympics in 2016 and the World Cup in 2014 and rising prices.
The government response has been much more restrained than that of the Turkish government and the violence has been much less. Nevertheless, the phenomenology looks very similar.
The police said they would not intervene to stop the demonstrations provided they did not result in property destructions. A small group of protestors in Rio set a car on fire. The car fire prompted the clash with police, which dominated international media coverage and misrepresented the peaceful nature of the demonstrations.