Huge numbers of youths from Brazil’s new middle class—raised in shanty towns but educated in public universities—are congregating in shopping malls where they feel closest to the consumerist dream. And due to police repression, they’re becoming spontaneous expressions of public hope, frustration and yearning.
The Inter Press Service begins a report on the “rolezinhos”:
They poured into shopping malls en masse to have some fun. But the reaction, a mixture of fear, admiration and heavy-handed repression, brought a new youth movement into being in Brazil: the “rolezinhos.”
In Brazilian youth slang, “rolar” means to go out with friends on a leisurely stroll, and the call to join these mass outings has become, in the view of some, a revolutionary movement, while for others it mirrors the consumerist longings of the emerging middle class.
It started in December 2013, when a group of young people used Facebook to plan a rolezinho (little outing) at a shopping centre in the southern city of São Paulo, “to have a bit of fun” in a country where entertainment and cultural events are expensive. Six thousand youngsters showed up.