Yesterday, I suggested that, in some ways, the protests that took place Monday night already marked a victory for the demonstrators throughout Brazil. Apparently, those victories include very real material gains for residents of four major cities:
After protests on Monday the 17th brought more than 230 thousand people to the streets against the increase of bus rates in various cities in Brazil, four [state] capitals announced reductions in their prices for public transit. [My translation; Portuguese original below.]
[Depois de protestos terem levado, na segunda-feira 17, mais de 230 mil pessoas às ruas contra o aumento das passagens de ônibus em diversas cidades do Brasil, quatro capitais anunciaram reduções em seus preços do transporte público.]
To be clear, this narrative is a bit simple. As I suggested on Monday, the demonstrations were about more than just bus fares – police violence, federal expenditures on the World Cup, a lack of infrastructural and social improvements, and other matters all formed part of the broader movement to express anger in Brazil.
Nonetheless, the issue of bus fares was a not-insignificant part of the demonstration. That four capital cities have actually reduced the cost to travel by bus is a concrete victory for people in Porto Alegre, Recife, Cuiabá, and João Pessoa. And while some might say it is just a case of governments trying to take away an issue that had led people to mobilize, I think such an interpretation is flawed, because 1) there are other issues that brought hundreds of thousands to the streets in the first place (and that remain), and 2) governments responding to such broad forms of protest is a good thing not only for the citizens themselves, but for citizen-state relations and democracy overall.