Brazil is currently engulfed in a massive series of protests, incited originally by the raising of bus fare in the capital Sao Paulo. The demonstrations have since morphed into a general protest against corruption and government policies that value prestigeous soccer stadiums over education.
A small minority of protesters have unfortunately turned violent, making it harder to convey the utterly admirable aims of the movement.
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is among the fighters actively peacefully demonstrating on the streets. Others have voiced support via social networks, excerpted below.
“Together we are stronger! ‘Thou wilt see that a son of thine flees not from battle!’ Everyone in the protest... Family, together we are brothers. I speak about the Nova Uniao!! United inside and outside the ring for a better Brazil!”
“We have been fighting for Brazil outside [the country]... the time to defend the country here has come! Let’s change Brazil with our power, but no violence!”
“It was time for people to wake up. That’s enough! You have to be a millionaire to live in Brazil. Without infra-structure there’s no way for a building to have a penthouse. It doesn’t work: parties, carnival, soccer, soap opera, world cup, Olympic games.
“I would like to understand why so many public people are omitting themselves and even are quoting on their social networks to support the protests, to our awakening?
“It’s our time to say: enough!! Ask for a stance from those who you follow on social networks and let’s make every one of them show which side they are!!
“We must use what we have, give support to those who are fighting for better. If you don’t go to the front line of the battle, at least encourages anyone who will.”
“In the first place, I think it’s great that the gatherings have occurred. Brazilians are finally learning to assert their rights. Only with public pressure can we change our society. From now on, I believe we need to start focusing on deeper targets. For example: questioning the perks of politicians -- early retirement, more vacations than the rest of the population, money for clothes... As for the spending on the World Cup, a great protest would be to not even go to watch the games.
“On the other hand, unfortunately, I’m realizing that some people do not have any understanding about what a democracy is. I saw people asking for the impeachment of democratically elected politicians. That’s a coup! Just because I disagree with some political positions doesn’t mean I want them expelled. In the next election, take voting more seriously, try to influence people, make demonstrations. This is part of the democratic game.
“Likewise, there are people wanting to prevent protesters from carrying party flags. Again, we are in a democracy! It’s not ‘because I do not like that particular party, I’ll attack whoever is in favor.’ Everyone has the same right! Ideological differences have to be respected!
“About the violence, it is regrettable. It is a minority, but a minority that causes great damage. Not only physical, but also for democracy. When the violence starts, it opens a door for fascist ideologies to sprout in the name of “order.”
“Therefore, the radicals who support violence and attacks, make no mistake: when feeling threatened, many people who support peaceful demonstrations will be the first to support a fascist regime, as indeed has occurred in the recent history of our country. When in a protest, we have to try to prevent, whenever possible, vandalism.
“May these beautiful displays of citizenship and strength of our people be used wisely, improving our understanding of democracy and the democratic state in Brazil. Violence is not the way. Democracy itself, yes!”
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
“I totally agree with peaceful demonstration, but I’m not against the ‘police,’ because a criminal that makes trouble has to go to jail. I am appalled by the looting and vandalism. Yes to protest, NO to vandalism.”
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