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.”


Peaceful in Salvador

The first night I attended a protest in Brazil’s third largest city, Salvador, I was amazed. I have seen protests in Brazil, but nothing like this. I crossed a footbridge and looked below me as tens of thousands of protesters marched peacefully below.


Come to the streets

I quickly joined the group as they walked down a major road, preventing traffic from moving. Each time we passed a bridge or building, the protesters would chant: “Join us, come to the streets.” And many did, adding to the already massive march. Sign says, “Free Pass.”


Demanding change

I was well aware of the many problems in Brazil. After that night it became clear: The people were demanding change.


Ironic ending

Ironically, after the demonstration, protesters packed onto Salvador’s poor transport system. In a city with a population of three million, buses are the only means of public transit.



The second protest I attended turned violent. It was the first Confederations Cup game in Salvador: Uruguay versus Nigeria. Demonstrators clashed with police as they tried to get as close as possible to Arena Fonte Nova.



The protesters were outraged; some started fires, threw rocks, and vandalized. In an attempt to push them out, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.


Shells from gas bombs

A man holds shells from gas bombs near a protester-made street fire. All around, the visual aftermath of the clash was evident.



I can say from this experience that, although only lasting a few minutes, the effects of the gas really are painful. My eyes and nose were burning almost unbearably, so much so that I had to leave the area.


In the middle of things

I climbed up a fallen portable toilet to take a photo from above. I tried to concentrate on photographing while dodging rocks, hearing the cracking blasts of the "moral effect bombs" (tear gas), and enduring the uncomfortable results of the gas.



I saw police and protesters that day with minor injuries. Even though the protest was almost a mile away from Fonte Nova, it could still be heard from the stadium.


Largest gathering

While thousands protested in Salvador that Thursday, more than two million in over 100 cities across the country were doing the same, making it the largest Salad Revolt gathering to date.


Citizen journalists

Much like the recent protests in Turkey, social media and citizen journalists have fueled the uprising, as well as played an important role in the organization of the public outcry.


Culture is garbage

Police walk by a peaceful protester. Sign reads: “To President Dilma / FIFA, Poverty shame Brazil (sic). The people are starving. No roof above their heads. Culture is garbage. Human beings come first.”


Small victories

The Confederations Cup was a test to see whether Brazil could pull off a mega sports event. In light of the resultant international pressure, the government has implemented some changes, giving protesters small victories. Center sign reads: “The whip may crack, but the people won’t shut up.”



This includes bus fares being reduced in some cities, along with the annulment of PEC 37 (basically allowing politicians to get away with corruption) and PDL 234 (allowing psychologists to treat LGBTs with the “gay cure”).


Looking for change

President Dilma Rousseff, whose approval rating has dropped an astounding 27 points in the past month, has made a national pact to improve education and healthcare. However, people are still looking to see more changes, and protests are ongoing.


Parades and protesters

July 2 is Bahia’s Independence Day. To celebrate, Salvador holds massive parades -- this year, with thousands of groups protesting alongside the official events. Sign reads: “Rapist ≠ father. Say no to the Unborn Act.”


Outside my window

I looked outside my window in the historic center and saw a seemingly never-ending stream of protests and parades, from a Slut Walk to political parties to marching bands.


Attacked by machismo

This woman protested in Salvador’s historic center as part of the Slut Walk. Her sign mimics her eye injury: “I was attacked by machismo.”


Preparing for the Pope

Although the protests are growing smaller, the Pope is visiting Brazil this week for World Youth Day. It seems a likely time to turn the volume back up.