Conflict & Justice

Photojournalists orchestrate their own protest in Brazil


Demonstrators are held back by riot police near Guanabara palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 7, 2013. More than 100 protesters interrupted a military parade in Rio Saturday held to mark Brazil's independence day and were dispersed with teargas.



As Brazilians in São Paulo prepared for protests against corruption on Sept. 7, Brazil's Independence Day, a group of photojournalists going by the name Foto Protesto SP revealed they had composed a demonstration of their own.

“Everything happened quite quickly, I think it was about two weeks from the time Mauricio Lima had the idea to having the pictures actually on the wall,” said André Liohn, a Brazilian photojournalist who has been working in São Paulo covering the protests.

The group of 18 to 22 photojournalists decided to occupy the city’s public space to “reach the people directly”—a horizontal demonstration that “brought the people to the people” to establish contact and foster dialogue, bringing them closer to the country's issues and to each other, without any interference from political parties.

“It is a clean, social manifestation of the desire for change,” Liohn said.

A protest “against time,” the exhibit aims to help Brazilians remember why they began demonstrating and what has happened along the way.

It is a visual act for the sake of remembrance and momentum.

“With our photography we can bring the idea back,” Liohn said. “We can question what happened. We can contribute, for the population to reflect about what happened and what should happen in the future.”

Foto Protesto has received a lot of attention since Saturday, he said, and is planning a meeting to decide on the group's second act of protest.