It all started with a public transit fare increase, but that issue turned out to simply be the tipping point for much stronger undercurrents of discontent in Brazil. In June, the Brazilian uprising kicked off just in time for the Confederations Cup (pre-tournament to the World Cup), catching international attention as millions worldwide protested to #ChangeBrazil. This has become Brazil’s largest mass movement since 1985, when millions took to the streets to demand the return of democracy.
The rallies have been coined the “Salad Revolt” and the “V for Vinegar Movement” after a journalist and dozens of demonstrators were arrested for being in possession of vinegar (which helps relieve the effects of tear gas).
Catalysts beyond the fare increase are varied, but the general opinion is people are angry that Brazil is spending billions of dollars to host the 2014 Word Cup and the Olympics in 2016, money many Brazilians believe should be going to health and education. One protest sign I saw sums it up: “If your child is sick, send them to the stadium.”