I returned to Rio de Janeiro on May 20th to begin ethnographic fieldwork for my PhD in Urban Geography. Within weeks, tens of thousands of Brazilians had taken to the streets in São Paulo, initially led by the small band of urban activists known as Movimento Passe Livre (The Free Fare Movement). By June 21st one million were marching on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and hundreds of thousands more demonstrating in 100 cities throughout the country.
I attended the first marches in Rio and dozens since. I began to observe, participate, photograph, take notes, and record interactions between protestors, bystanders, union activists, and police officers. I’ve closely followed public debates in mainstream, alternative and intellectual media, tracked various activist-leaders through social media, and discussed the protests at every possible social opportunity.
Over the coming months I’ll share some of my experiences and observations about the urban unrest from…
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