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How a 19 year old student sparked Brazil’s biggest social protest

19 year old student Marcelo Hotmsky  photo:

19 year old student Marcelo Hotmsky

In the midst of the Confederations Cup in Brazil, the biggest social unrest was unfolding in major cities across the South American country that will host the 2014 World Cup.

The protests started off as demonstrations against high transport fares but quickly metamorphosed as a revolt against the Government’s economic policies.

19-year-old Marcelo Hotimsky led the initial protest with his small ‘Free Fare Movement’. Initially, no one took the movement seriously but when more students and political party activists joined, the protests spread across Sao Paulo to Rio and other cities attracting over one million protesters.

Marcelo, who is a philosophy student, has organized previous protests advocating for free fairs in Brazil’s public transport. What made this particular protest blow up was because the government increased the transport fares just before the tournament.


Marcelo told New York Times that the protests were an expression of frustration.


“There are serious issues about mobility and life in the city,” he said.

The Brazilian President averted the crisis by responding to the demonstrators’ demands by promising to look into the issue of public transport.


Marcelo was invited by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to discuss transportation policy. From the streets to the President’s office – how is that for a moving up!



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