Saturday, March 19, 2011
Remain Calm!! All Is Well!!
The natives are restless in Rio de Janeiro, where there was a sustained and violent protest directed at the U.S. Consulate last night, just as President Obama arrived.
I've seen nothing whatsoever about this in U.S. news media so far today, but according to local press reports (here and here), the protesters consisted of labor, student and peasant groups. Specifically, the Central Unica dos Trabalhadores, the Sindipetro (Union of Oil), the National Union of Students, and the Landless Movement. They assembled in front of the Candelaria church in downtown Rio, and proceeded up Rio Branco Avenue to the U.S. Consulate.
Things turned nasty at some point after dark, when the protesters threw a coquetel molotov at the Consulate, injuring a security guard, and Brazilian Miltary Police responded with tear gas (bombas de gás lacrimogêneo), flash-ban grenades (bombas de efeitos sonoro) and rubber bullets (balas de borracha).
Note to self: do Rosetta Stone Portuguese. A language that can make riot control devices sound so pleasant and lyrical is a must-learn.
Local press reported that the Consulate security guard was treated for burns at a hospital, and a local radio reporter was treated for injuries caused by a rubber bullet.
Judging by the photos I found online, it was a pretty severe disturbance.
There is nothing about any of this at the Consulate's website. I think that's curious, but I suppose they are consumed by the effort of supporting the POTUS visit.
As a public service, I am embedding the following video which the Consulate is free to send out as a Warden Message: