brazil-protestsImages showing police brutality in Sao Paulo have highlighted protests that have erupted against the local and federal government in Brazil. Peaceful protesters started the demonstrations earlier this month and social media has played a big role.

These demonstrations were originally motivated by a 10 cent increase in subway and bus fares.

Demonstrations organized via social media have created scenarios where Brazilians have lost their patience for dealing with high taxes, high prices, low quality public services and a corrupt government.

The snowballing social media campaigns have been successful in increasing visibility and awareness. Protesters are also using social media to teach people how to protect themselves from tear gas being used by police forces.

In addition, the adoption of official hashtags such as #changebrazil and #thegianthasawoken has helped to spread the message on social media channels, gaining international attention.
Scup, a social media monitoring platform, has found that 79 million internet users have already been exposed to some kind of related post as of last Monday.

Reasons Why Brazilians Are Complaining

  • The country has one of the most expensive tax systems in the world
  • Brazil’s taxes on imported items are higher than most countries
  • Brazilian credit cards charge an annual average percentage rate of 323%
  • To date billions of dollars have been spent on hosting the World Cup soccer and the 2016 Olympics. The cost for the World Cup will exceed the cost of the two last World Cups accumulated. The population suspects a large-scale corruption is happening
  • The government is attempting to pass a law that will protect politicians from investigation or prosecution
  • The country has 14.6 million illiterates and a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.73, these HDI ranks 85th out of 187 countries

Without a central leadership, social media is pointed out as being the main reason responsible for the huge response to the demonstrations. Recently, a cyber-attack has knocked the government’s official World Cup website. Hackers have replaced the content of governmental links with a screen calling on citizens to come out to the streets.

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