Social Media Energizes the Brazil Protests

By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The protests throughout Brazil erupted to a remarkable scale, largely fueled by social media and citizen journalists who are taking to the streets and capturing images. Through digital cameras and smartphones, they are sharing what they see with the world, and what comes into focus are peaceful and at times festive demonstrations interspersed with scenes of conflict and tension.

Rio Protests June 20th Felipe Fonseca Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

Protesters assembling near Candelária Church in Rio on Thursday, June 20th, photo by Felipe F. Costa.

The Rio Times asked our readers via Facebook and email to send us their images captured over the last couple weeks. Following are just a few of the most poignant images and stories shared with us.

When Brazilian photographer and director Michel de Souza attended the protests in Rio on June 13th he made the decision to take both film and stills. He then later edited them together to present his unique perspective as a photographer of the demonstrations.

His video entitled, No Olho Do Furacão (In The Eye Of The Storm) has received international attention. “During the protests this week in Rio I made a log record of my photos,” de Souza states on Youtube. ”

It is a video that has just moments before each photograph taken, I think it also tells the story of something that seems to be marking our country.” De Souza added, “I confess that, towards the end, I was very emotional.”

While attending the protests in Rio on Thursday, June 20th, Felipe F. Costa captured his experience through still shots. “People were chanting slogans against specific issues such as several bills being approved in Congress whilst others were chanting against corruption amongst other less specific themes. Things remained relatively calm all the way along Av. Presidente Vargas,” Costa said of his experience.

Costa told The Rio Times that the demonstration which had began peacefully near Candelária Church around 5PM changed during the procession. “As we approached the Town Hall, we started to hear very loud explosions coming from around 60 to 80 meters in front from were we were. There was a slight rush of people coming back saying that the police were starting to use tear gas and pepper spray.”

Protests June 20th Stefano Figalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News

Choque troops on Av. Presidente Vargas near Arcos da Lapa on June 20th, photo by Stefano Figalo.

Contributor Stefano Figalo, captured the unfolding scenes with his camera from a vantage point closer to Arcos da Lapa. Figalo described the scene as, “protesters in urban warfare with the police.”

Photos of the night from the Community Organization, RioOnWatch, part of the NGO Catalytic Communities, depicted protesters assembled peacefully and holding signs for their varied causes.

So far, The Rio Times have received numerous photos and videos from various days of the protests held in many cities throughout the country. The scenes range from PMs (military police) shooting tear gas to a large crowd singing the Brazilian national anthem.

Pictures were also sent in from groups that held rallies in countries around the world including, Germany, Canada and The United States. The images show supporters holding signs with words of solidarity.

“The New York demonstration was in Zuccotti Park, the same site of the prolonged Occupy Wall Street protests,” contributor Robert Samuelson told The Rio Times. “There were several hundred Brazilian demonstrators. The group was peaceful. People took turns speaking about the issues to a cheering audience. Many signs were in English as well as in Portuguese. […] Clearly, New York and the world is watching.”

Inside the country the citizens and visitors alike are watching as well while also documenting what they see. “I believe it is still early to know what the impacts of these protests will be,” Contributor Costa concluded.

However, during these changing times through the citizen journalist images and videos there is a growing record of what the protests were as told through the lenses of those who were in them and their supporters worldwide.

To view the collection of reader submissions to The Rio Times see Reader Photos #ChangeBrazil. To contribute photos or video, please email changebrazil@riotimesonline.com with confirmation of dates, locations and photo credits.

One Response to "Social Media Energizes the Brazil Protests"

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