Saturday, June 22, 2013

Police attack protesters in Brasil

It seems as if little things always spark (start) large protests.  I guess the second lesson we can learn from Brasil (and Turkey) is that the police always make the situation worse by attacking and beating people.

In Brasil the government decided to raise bus fares and this lead to demonstrations.  The police then attacked protesters in the demonstrations and this has escalated (increased) the violence and resentment (anger).  In the photo below a woman has written: "We seek quality education, healthcare and transportation."


In this article The Economist seems puzzled (confused) about why the people of Brasil are protesting.  The Economist seems to think it is because the attention of the world is directed toward Brasil because of the upcoming Olympics and World Cup competitions. I disagree.  I think they are just fed up (to be fed up with something means you will not allow something wrong any more because you have suffered from it for too long) with a corrupt government and poor services for high taxes.



The article:

http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21579857-bubbling-anger-about-high-prices-corruption-and-poor-public-services-boils-over

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a demonstration/ a protest - when a group in a society becomes so dissatisfied with a government policy that they go into public spaces to express their anger.

a bus fare - the amount to be paid to ride a bus.  There are many poor people in Brasil and so bus fares are a central issue to people's lives there.

taking to the streets - this is an idiom: the people are taking to the streets!  This means they are protesting.

bubbling - if anger is bubbling it is rising or showing itself as bubbles show themselves when you are heating water.

corruption - this means the government is dishonest, does not help people and that politicians work to gain power and make money for themselves and do not help the people.

to boil over - like water boiling over a pot after it is heated too long.  The hot water begins to spill over the edge of the pot.

stunning - shocking

impeachment - when a corrupt president is forced out of office

dismissed - in this case: ignored

paulistanos - people born in Sao Paulo

universal free bus service - free bus service for everyone.

a mayor - the leader of a city.

commuters were unimpressed - regular bus riders were made angrier when the protests made their bus rides longer and more difficult.

vandalism by the hardcore - vandalism is when public property is destroyed or damaged.  A 'hardcore' group committed the vandalism - a group that was especially angry and violent.

a crackdown - when the government uses force to stop something it doesn't like

ill-trained, brutal police - badly trained and very severe

a rout - this is when one side easily defeats or beats the other side.

name tags removed - they didn't want the protesters to know who they were

stun grenades and rubber bullets - stun grenades explode and 'stun' people - make people feel disoriented, or unable to move quickly.  Rubber bullets are not metal bullets but can still kill people.

a bystander - someone just standing around.

to hunt stragglers - to go after people who are wandering around after participating in the protests.

mayhem - chaos, disorder

a markedly different tone - showed a different attitude

a splinter group - a smaller group that breaks away from a larger group and begins working on its own

looted - broken into so that stuff can be stolen.  Looting often occurs during protests.
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