Skittish Brazilian authorities on Wednesday spared no effort to boost security in the face of a social media flyer promoting a “mega-protest to retake power” in two dozen cities. Whether because of preventative measures adopted or not, the supposed uprising was a dud.
Fewer than 10 protesters showed along Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach; there were more journalists in attendance, plus 29 police vehicles. On Brasilia's esplanade surrounded by federal government buildings, authorities had designated an area for protest and stationed police and national guard troops. Just one couple showed, dressed in the same Brazil soccer jerseys that thousands of rioters wore four days earlier.
“We were surprised to be the only ones here today,” said Eunice Carvalho, a 58-year-old housewife joined by her husband. “People got scared after the imprisonments, which were excessive.”
Speaking to journalists in Brasilia earlier, the federal appointee who has assumed control of the capital’s security said police were shutting down the main avenue to traffic, limiting pedestrian access with barricades and blocking all access to the square that was the site of Sunday's mayhem.
“The right to protest freely will always be respected and cannot be confused with terrorism,” said the official, Ricarado Cappelli.
The justice also denounced the protest encampments sponsored by diverse financiers.
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