By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The “rolezinho” in Niterói’s Plaza shopping mall took place as scheduled on Saturday night and while there were no reports of violence, the event reportedly slowly turned into a protest. As the “rolezinho” began at around 6PM on Saturday night, the shopping mall closed its doors preventing more attendees and press into the event.
At one point some of the around fifty participants began chanting against racism, inequality, and the allocation of government resources including the spending on the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup.
More chants similar to protests cries heard during the massive protests throughout the country last summer were heard, including calls for the removal of Rio de Janeiro’s Governor Sérgio Cabral.
Adding more of a political element to the event, Ph Lima, singer-songwriter and former PSOL candidate for alderman of the neighboring municipality of São Gonçalo, was also in attendance during the “rolezinho”.
Shopping center escalators closed and the air conditioning was turned off in in the building as the group made their way through the mall accompanied by dozens of security guards. Many shops also reportedly pulled down their doors and closed.
“If it was a bunch of playboyzinhos [a word used to describe those more privileged], like in the movies, that shop there would not be closed,” the twenty-five-old PH Lima told Journal Terra while indicating one of the shops which had temporarily closed. “I’m sure those sellers don’t even get one percent of the store’s profits. We’re Not breaking anything, Niterói has a cavity called racism.”
After the “rolezinho” ended at around 8:40 PM, the Plaza issued the following statement; “The Niterói Plaza Shopping [mall] wishes to inform that, on the afternoon of Saturday, the 18th, it was necessary to stop the activities of the shopping center temporarily. Measures adopted [by the center] were part of the action plan to ensure the integrity and security of its customers, tenants and employees.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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