Police, Protests, and Policy in Rio de Janeiro—Mega-Events, Networked Culture, and the Right to the City

  • Lea Rekow


This essay looks at the role networked media plays in orchestrating direct action, exposing social injustices, and representing political dissent in relation to the mega-events hosted in Rio de Janeiro in 2014–2016. It examines how independent media and citizen reportage are shaping practices of social organizing and civic mobilization to change the focus of public debate around these events and issues relating to them. It also explores how the government, in turn, is widening its use of digital military applications to monitor citizens and restrict the right to the city under the rhetoric of national security, and how this is impacting on individual freedom of expression, the structure of public protest, and threatening the democratic capacity for social and political impact.


Protest Policy Events Networked culture Civic engagement World cup Brazil 


  1. 19th Century Anarchist Bakunin, Investigated By Brazil’s Police As “Suspect”, Revolution News. (2014, 29 July).
  2. 28 ativistas presos às vésperas da final da Copa, RioNaRua. (2014, 12 July).
  3. Alston, P. (2010). Report of the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, follow-up to country recommendations—Brazil, United Nations General Assembly (pp. 5–6).
  4. Amin, A. (2006). Inclusive cities: Challenges of urban diversity. Woodrow Wilson International the Center for Scholars, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the CCCB.Google Scholar
  5. Amnesty International Brasil (Direito à moradia adequada). (2011).
  6. Arbitrary detentions on the eve of World Cup final expose serious rights violations in Brazil, Mídia NINJA. (2014, 12 July).
  7. Bittencourt, G. (2013). CICC do Rio de Janeiro: Tecnologia para segurança pública, Guia das Cidades Digitais, 10 July.
  8. Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup: President Rousseff Gets Poor Marks on Key Issues, Survey, Pew Research Centre. (2014, 3 June).
  9. Brazil Federal Government Statistics for FIFA World Cup, Portal da Copa. (2014).
  10. Brynskov, M., Bermúdez, J. C., Fernández, M., Korsgaard, H., Mulder, I., Piskorek, K., Rekow, L., de Waal, M. (2014). Urban interaction design: Toward city making (pp. 43–46). Amsterdam: Floss Manuals.Google Scholar
  11. Carpes, G. (2014). Desaparecidos e esquecidos, Agência de reportage e jornalismo investigativo, 26 February.Google Scholar
  12. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) GINI Index. (2013).Google Scholar
  13. Decree of Law No. 2848, Article 288, paragraph 1, 7 December 1940. Article 288 paragraph 1 of the Decree of Law No. 2848 (1940) was amended by Law No. 12,850 (2013). Article 288-A was amended by Law No. 12,720 (2012) to include “forming, organizing, integrating, maintain funding, or organizing paramilitary, private militia, group, or squadron for the purpose of committing any of the crimes provided for in the Penal Code.”
  14. Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (FIESP). (2010, 13 May).
  15. Fonseca B., Mota J., Bodenmüller L., & Viana N. (2013). Brazil becomes hot market for surveillance technology ahead of World Cup, 27 September.Google Scholar
  16. Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública, 8º Anuário Brasileiro de Segurança Pública. (2014). Creative commons BY-NC-SA.Google Scholar
  17. Gil de Zúñiga, H., Jung, N., & Valenzuela, S. (2012). Social media user for new and individuals’ social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17, 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goheen, P. G. (1998). Public space and the geography of the modern city. Progress in Human Geography, 22(4), 479–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guarantee of Law and Order, Department of Defense, Brazil. (2013). Chapter I, section 1.2 cites Article 142 of the Federal Constitution (1988) that was adopted at a domestic infrastructure level with the enactment of Law Supplement No. 97/99. See in particular Annex G, Chapter 3.1, Chapter 3.6.
  20. Governo do Rio de Janeiro Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP) website.
  21. Harvey, D. (2013). Rebel cities: From the right to the city to the urban revolution (pp. 3–7). London: Verso Press.Google Scholar
  22. Instituto de Segurança Pública, Rio de Janeiro. (2014, September).
  23. International Institute for Democracy and Electorial Assistance. (2014). Law 10,826/03, Article 16, paragraph 3.
  24. Lemieux, F. (2015). Current and emerging trends in cyber operations: Policy, strategy and practice. USA: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lethal Force, Police Violence and Public Security in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Human Rights Watch report. (2009). New York, p. 31.
  26. Lim, M., & Kann, M. E. (2008). Politics: Deliberation, mobilization, and networked practices of agitation. In K. Varnelis (Ed.), Networked publics (pp. 77–107). Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Loader, B. D., Vromen, A., Xenos, M. (2014) The networked young citizen: Social media, political participation and civic engagement (Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society) (pp. 1–15). New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  28. Marco Civil Law no. 12.965. (2014). Chapter III, Section II. “Records, personal data and private communications protection”.
  29. Ministério Público Institui Gabinete de Crise para a Copa do Mundo, Portal Brasil. (2014, 2 June), Creative commons CC BY ND 3.0 Brasil.
  30. Originally published 6 September 2013 by Agência Pública as part of its #SpyFiles3 special coverage.
  31. Östman, J. (2012). Information, expression, participation: How involvement in user- generated content relates to democratic engagement among young people. New Media and Society, 14(6), 1004–1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pasolini, A. (2014). Occupy: Brazil’s lawmakers push anti-terrorism policy to stifle protest ahead of World Cup, Conectas direitos humanos, 6 March.
  33. Patry, M. (2014). Brazil: A new global Internet referee? Policy paper, Index on Censorship, p. 15.
  34. Police Raid Activists’ Homes, Arrest 8 (anarchists, BB, antifa) On Eve Of FIFA’s World Cup—Updates, Revolution News. (2014, 11 June). Courtesy Revolution News.
  35. Police violence during historic protest raises serious questions, Rio on Watch. (2013, 27 June).
  36. Reporters Without Borders, World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Sans Frontières. (2014).
  37. Rio de Janeiro inaugurates Command and Control Centre. (2013). Brazil Federal Government Portal da Copa, 4 June.Google Scholar
  38. Schausteck de Almeida, B., Mezzadri, F., Marchi Jr, W. (2009). Condsideracoes Sociaisa e Simbolicas sobre sedes de Megaeventos Esportivos. MotrivivÍncia Ano XXI, no. 32–33 (June-December) pp. 178–192.
  39. Schmidt, B. (2014). Brazilian builder odebrecht emerges as World Cup Winner, Bloomberg Business News, 10 June 2014.
  40. Teleco, Mobile Subscribers in Brazil (preliminary data report). (2014, 4 November).
  41. Waiselfisz, J. (2013). Mapa da Violência, Mortes matadas por armas d fogo, Centro Brasileiro de Estoudos Latino-Americanos/FLACSO, p. 11.
  42. Wheeler, D., & Mintz, L. (2012). New media and political change: Lessons from internet users in Jordon, Egypt and Kuwait. In R. L. Fox & J. M. Ramos (Eds.), IPolitics: Citizens, elections, and governing in the new media era (pp. 259–288). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Willis, G., Muggah, R., Kosslyn J., Leusi F. (2013). Smarter policing: Tracking the influence of new information technology in Rio de Janeiro, Igarapé Institute report, November.
  44. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19.
  45. Ziccardi, G. (2013). Resistance, liberation technology and human rights in the digital age (pp. 17–18). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Green My FavelaRio de JaneiroBrazil

Personalised recommendations