While large protests are not common events in Brazil, some of the protesters say “the giant has awoken”, meaning that Brazil’s population of 190 million is mobilising to fight corruption and political misconduct. As many as 15 journalists were injured by police and two were taken into custody during last Thursday’s demonstrations in São Paulo, according to Brazil’s Association of Investigative Journalism (Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo, Abraji).
The journalists were allegedly beaten, maced or hit by non-lethal rubber bullets covering the protests. Photographer Sérgio Andrade da Silva from Futura Press agency was hit in the eye by a rubber bullet. Doctors say his chances of full recovery are less than 5 in a hundred. Reporter Giuliana Valloni from Folha de S.Paulo, Brazil’s biggest daily newspaper, was also hit in the eye by a rubber bullet.
She says a policeman shot at her from a 20-meters. “I wasn’t attacking anyone, I wasn’t cursing at anyone. I was doing my job”, Giuliana told Folha from her hospital bed. “I saw him aiming at me, but I never thought he would fire, because I had (policemen) aiming at me before that night.
You’ll never think that an armed guy in uniform will ever shoot you in the face”, she said. Folha says that seven of its staff members – including Giuliana – were attacked by policemen at Thursday’s protests.