By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Although Judge Isabella Peçanha Chagas of the 14th Civil Court of Rio previously ruled on Friday, January 17th in favor of an injunction barring a rolezinho at the Leblon’s Shopping mall, on Sunday the establishment closed its doors for business and strengthened security outside.

Leblon Protest, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Protestors, onlookers and reporters gathered around Leblon’s Shopping mall on Sunday, photo by Nicson Olivier.

The term Rolezinhos, loosely translated as “little strolling”, refers to large organized gathering of suburban teenagers and preteens in urban up-market malls to socialize and shop.

The movement first began to gain attention in December of last year in São Paulo when approximately 6,000 people filled the city’s Metrô Itaquera mall for a rolezinho, with similar events occurring in the city’s JK Iguatemi shopping mall and Guarulhos International mall.

São Paulo has since banned many rolezinhos there, causing groups to gather in protest in the city’s Parque Ibirapuera.

In a piece recently published by Oene entitled “Rolezinho e a desumanização dos pobres” (Rolezinho and dehumanization of the poor), the authors stated that the movement in São Paulo was partly due to “the credit boom, lower unemployment and the growth of [economic] class C.”

“Moreover,” the article added, “these young people have more jobs, more income and can buy R$200 hats in several monthly installments (or have parents who want to give their children what they did not have, including R$200 hats[…]).”

In Rio, with signs posted on the walls of the Leblon Shopping mall announcing the closure for the day to “ensure safety,” a small group gathered outside the security fences on Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco during the afternoon hours of Sunday afternoon.

As onlookers and reporters crowded around the scene which included a man dressed as Batman and groups cooking churrasco [barbeque], the sounds of Carioca funk and Brazilian musical legend Cazuza could be heard as well as chants for greater social exclusion and against racism.

The protest cries were similar in nature to those reported during a rolezinho during the previous night held in the neighboring city of Niterói.

One shop owner who preferred to remain nameless told Agência Brasil “[The Leblon mall] is a space for private leisure,” adding, “Protests should be at the door of City Hall, not here.”

No violence nor arrests were reported during the event on Sunday.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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