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.

Rolezinho in Niterói's Plaza shopping mall, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Rolezinho in Niterói’s Plaza shopping mall on Saturday, image recreation.

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).

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


  1. Me and my family have frequented shopping centers such as Niteroi Plaza and the Lebblon in Rio through our whole lives, and it’s hard to fully understand the frequent customers concerns of such places being outside of such group. The Shopping Center and stores have a certain unwritten code of etiquette all patrons must follow, such as speaking quietly, walking at a moderate pace and not interrupting the flow of customers in the hallways. It’s supposed to be peaceful, quiet, serene, but during one of these rolezinhos (Something that is older than people think) all these principles are disregard by the participants of it, and it becomes very uncomfortable for the regular patrons to see such a big mass of people behaving so erratically and loudly. It’s just unpolite. And no, it’s not a giant protest against a deep social divide. They’re mass gatherings organized online for the sole purpose of having fun and causing frequent patrons of this kind of place to feel unsafe and uncomfortable, and very few of the people showing at these events are there to proclaim a point of equality . This whole concept of the lower classes rising to the upper classes was created by what is known to be a extremely leftist intellectual force in Brazil. I’ll admit, whoever, that in my years shopping at such places, it was rare to meet a black person that was a patron. There’s a huge unspoken, subtle social divide in Brazil that very few dare to address, being a extremely uncomfortable subject for those in power. Rolezinhos are an issue because it is the inhabitants of one Brazil, the one of slums, minorities and working class meeting in the environment in the Brazil of private condominiums, white European entrepreneurs.

  2. Much worse than the relesinhos – a new hit of Brazilian summer – is to put with the oppinion of some political analyst that trying to find a sociological reason for all this mess!


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