By Stephanie Foden, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Celebrities from across the country and abroad have shown their support to the wave of protests in Brazil either in person or online. The protests started in response to increases in public transportation fares at the beginning of June, but ignited millions across the country into demonstrations calling for change.
British singer Kate Nash, who played at the Cultura Inglesa Festival this past Sunday in São Paulo, has joined with the protesters. The musician posted photos of herself on Paulista Avenue wrapped in the Brazilian flag on Instagram. On Twitter, Nash (@katenash) added, “Brasil I love your beautiful country & the sweet, passionate spirit of your people. I support you & was so happy to be at the protest today.”
Best-selling author Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho), who has been actively tweeting about the protests, disagrees with Nash’s efforts: “#ChangeBrazil but not with Kate Nash “protesting” or w/that stupid video where a girl asks, in English, that no one come to the 2014Cup.”
The video was created by Carla Dauden before the protests erupted, but since has been viewed over three million times on YouTube. Julia Michaels, of the popular bi-lingual Rio Real blog, had different take on it, and told The Rio Times: “I thought it was very impressive, and a good idea, although exaggerated in some areas. […] people from outside Brazil want to know and understand what is happening.”
Brazilian supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Gisele Bündchen have both shown their support for the protests. On the violent clashes between police and demonstrators, Ambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) said on Instagram:
“Our struggle is for dignity and our most basic constitutional rights and RESPECT, but always with PEACE!! Our strength is to cry for a Brazil that’s better, fairer, safer, healthier, freer, more educated, and with respect for us and our children! No more corruption, impunity, prejudice and violence!”
Also on Instagram, Bündchen (@giseleofficial) said, “Sending much love and light to all in my beautiful country. I hope that the people’s voice is heard so we can have a fair Brazil. I am proud of being Brazilian.” This is the model’s second post about the movement, which combined have received more than 50,000 likes.
In the light of controversies over expense of the FIFA Confederations and World Cup, many footballers have spoken out about the uprising as well.
Just before the Brazil-Mexico face-off last week, superstar Neymar (@njunior11) said on Instagram: “…I’m BRAZILIAN and I love my country !! I have family and friends who live in Brazil !! For that reason I, too, want a fairer, juster, safer, and MORE HONEST Brazil !!!! The only way I can represent and defend Brazil is on the pitch, playing ball.”
Pelé (@pele) has been under mass criticism on social media sites for initially telling people to “forget the protests.” But in his latest tweets, the football legend hastened to apologize:
“Please don’t misunderstand me. I am a hundred percent in favor of this movement for justice in Brazil,” and, “I have always fought against corruption, and upon my 1000th goal I spoke on the importance of education for our children.”
Three-time Roland Garros winner and former ATP number one tennis great Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten (@gugakuerton) tweeted, “Total support to all peaceful demonstrations!! Brazil needs to wake up and people deserve more RESPECT!!”
Brazilian indie act CSS (@csssuxxx), who are touring North America for their latest album “Planta,” also stand with the protesters: “We are with you! Focus on the protests. Remember: There’s always a tomorrow, and that’s what we’re building. Much love and #VforVinegar.”