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The Battle of Consolação

The Free Pass protests have turned into a full-on revolt.

Since June 2, when the price of public transportation in São Paulo, Brazil, rose from R$3 to R$3.20, the Free Pass Movement has initiated protests that have turned into a wave of revolt.

On June 13, protesters who had been marching peacefully from the Municipal Theater to Avenida Paulista, the city's main avenue, were attacked by São Paulo's military police. The attack took place in Rua da Consoloação in the center of the city; tear-gas bombs and rubber bullets were fired into the crowds. Students and journalists covering the events were cornered, beaten, and arrested. Several reporters were injured, and one photographer even lost an eye after being hit in the face with a rubber bullet.


The events were a chilling reminder of the violent protests against the military dictatorship in 1968, which took place in the same region and have shaped Brazil's history. On one side of the protests were students who agreed with the military currently in power. On the other, young protesters called for an end to what they saw as oppression. The idealogical disagreement escalated into physical aggression, and with stones, pieces of wood and glass in hand, the two sides battled until the police intervened, killing a 20-year-old student.

After last week's attack on the protesters, evidence of police violence began to spread via social media. The movement gathered popular support and the Brazil's major media networks—who until then had been praising the police and condemning protesters as "vandals"—changed their tone completely. They began criticizing the police's actions and attempted to manipulate the motivation of the protests in accordance with their own interests, using the events to attack President Dilma and the mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad, both of whom represent the left-wing Workers' Party.

More about the bus-fare protests:

São Paulo Is Burning

Teenage Riot - São Paulo