PROTEST vs PARTY

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Yesterday Brasil got qualified for the next round in the World Cup. On the CMR – BRA page you can see my match day, but my day was much longer than that. I started my day in Babylonia, a favela close to the Copacabana beach. There a group of protesters came together to prepare themselves for the protest of that day. The ambiance was nice, but a little tense too. People were painting, dancing, singing and holding speeches. The protest that was about to be held was one against the UPP, the military police that pacifies favelas and is supposed to keep the peace there. During and after the pacifying of these favelas, a lot of people die. Drug solders, policemen, but also innocent men, women and children. Some of the speeches where of mothers that have lost their children in this war, some of the children painting were doing so in memory of their brothers that have “disappeared” during the pacification, all people there are wanting a different way than having the military police being the ones that watch over them. A couple of weeks ago I spoke to an inspector of the civil police here in Rio. He told me he found all this ridiculous too. According to him, the military police in Rio doesn’t even get an education to do this. They walk around, holding their guns, so that is why you should listen to them.

The march of the protest went from the Babylonia side of Copacabana beach towards the other side. A walk of about three kilometers. Phrases like “we want the military police out, it needs to stop, we just want to live in peace in our community” were sang. Along the way other Brazilians that passed by sang along. For the 200 protesters that were there, there were approximately 80 police man and women around them, military police. The march was during the Holland – Chili match so at every beach stand we passed I would stop and see some minutes of the game. The last time I checked it was 0-0, but by the time I left the protest the match was over and we had won. I stopped for lunch and headed over to Tijuca where the Sambaschool of Salgueiro is based. There I saw Brasil beating Camarões. Back home when I was working on the pictures I heard a completely different march outside my house. A bloco (a march Samba, it happens a lot around carnival) was passing by, with people singing, celebrating that Brasil had won, not worrying about the fact that it was 11.30pm on an Monday night and they were waking up a whole neighborhood. They had fun and were happy Brasil had won, for me it was just fun to watch, it was the kind of thing I expected to happen much more often during this World Cup. It might, the further the Seleção will get, the bigger the party I guess.

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