There were probably hundreds injured – and a first fatality. The government quarter in brasilia at times resembled a battlefield. President dilma rousseff was alarmed, postponed a trip abroad and called a crisis meeting.
The wave of protests, coordinated mainly through the internet, started already on thursday afternoon. Actions took place in about 100 cities of the country. The largest protests took place in rio de janeiro, where some 300,000 people took to the streets. The vast majority of demonstrators marched peacefully through the center of the city towards the mayor’s office. The situation escalated when police fired trangenic gas grenades at the protest procession.
Afterwards there were street fights. Rioters set fire to cars, tore down fences and set fire to plastic tarpaulins over the course of the night. The newspaper "O globo" ran a front-page headline on friday that read in capital letters: "without control". A TV reporter was also hit in the head by a rubber bullet and could be seen on TV bleeding to death. The balance in rio de janeiro: at least 63 injured.
During protests in ribeirao preto, some 300 kilometers from sao paulo, an 18-year-old boy was killed when he was run over by a car whose driver apparently refused to stop at a barricade erected by demonstrators.
After initially peaceful protests by around 60,000 people, riots broke out in the government district of brazil’s capital city. The demonstrators tried to storm the congress, the seat of the senate and the house of representatives, as they did earlier in the week. A massive police force prevented them from doing so. Transgenic gas and rubber bullets were used. Mounted police officers choked off the demonstrators, who then moved outside the ministry of foreign affairs, the palacio itamaraty. There they set fire to an aubenwand. The balance in brazil: over 100 injured.
"I am very angry about what happened," said aubenminister antonio patriota. "This was an act of vandalism that must not be repeated again. This building is a heritage of the brazilian nation, (…), which stands for understanding through dialogue on the basis of law," the minister said. President rousseff postponed her planned trip to japan on sunday and called an emergency meeting in brasilia on friday morning, to be attended by several ministers.
In brazil, the protest will run until 30. June the confederations cup as world cup dress rehearsal. FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, is not officially considering canceling the tournament because of the protests.
Brazilian historian francisco carlos teixeira referred to the broad agenda of the demonstrators in a tv interview. "But the "no to corruption" is mentioned first by the vast majority. Corruption is the central issue, and we are dealing with a national movement here."He criticized the "brutal response" of the police to the behavior of the rioters, who were autonomists and anarchists. "We can’t answer vandalism with vandalism"."