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January 21, 2014

Mall rats: Brazilian flash mob forces closure of luxury shopping center
by rt.com

Protests by Brazil’s poor against the rich have taken a new turn. Local black youths are taking to shopping malls usually visited by the wealthy, cooking barbecues and dancing. The seemingly innocent rallies are drawing the government’s attention.

The latest protest of the kind led to a shutdown of one of the Rio de Janeiro’s upmarket malls.

Nine thousand people joined the Facebook page of the flash mob. According to the report by local media outlet Terra, the social network deleted the event when it had over 500 people confirmed.

However, only a few dozen took part in the flash mob. The participants held a barbecue outside the mall, set up speakers and danced to the music. One of the protesters was dressed as Batman, and another one as the Joker.

Shopping Leblon, the mall that was shut down, is a center that consists of 200 luxurious boutiques, restaurants and cinemas.

The owners tried to ban the event, fearing violence, but failed. Instead, they closed the mall and left notices on the doors of the mall in Portuguese and English that read, "To ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers, tenants and employees, Shopping Leblon informs that the center will be exceptionally closed today, 19 January."

“Looks like we're bums who want to break the mall,” Fábio Fleck, one of the organizers, told Terra TV. “It is disappointing that we have more police than protesters. We’re not even a movement, just a group of people who met through Facebook.”

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Brazilian shopping malls requesting help from government to contain 'weekend flash mobs'

by MercoPress.com

Fearing violence, authorities promptly closed some of the malls -- including the commercial center in Rio's posh Leblon district, sparking protests and claims of discrimination. But Monday, Brazilian retailer association Alshop voiced concerns over the lost business that resulted.

“We can confirm we have called on the presidential office for help in this matter,” an Alshop spokeswoman said.

A number of flash mobs -- dubbed rolezinhos in Brazil -- have descended on retail centers in recent days. Many of the youths involved are low-income black teens. In some cases, the gatherings have degenerated into disturbances and store looting.

Security was beefed up ahead of one planned flash mob on Saturday at Sao Paulo's JK Iguatemi mall before management decided to close the center entirely. Similarly, Shopping Leblon was closed on Sunday.

But the closures only served to heighten tensions further, with some demonstrators accusing malls of “denying entry to black and poor people.”

Brazilian retailers said they were seeking support from President Dilma Rousseff after several shopping malls were closed to stop weekend flash mobs. Scores of youths, brought together via social media, gathered at upscale malls in several major cities, including Rio and business hub Sao Paulo.

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Riled by flash mobs, Brazil shops lean on govt backing

by The Peninsula

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian retailers yesterday said they were seeking support from President Dilma Rousseff after several shopping malls were closed to stop weekend flash mobs.

Scores of youths, brought together via social media, gathered at upscale malls in several major cities, including Rio and business hub Sao Paulo.

Fearing violence, authorities promptly closed some of the malls — including the commercial centre in Rio’s uber-swanky Leblon district — sparking protests and claims of discrimination.

But yesterday, Brazilian retailer association Alshop voiced concerns over the lost business that resulted.

“We can confirm we have called on the presidential office for help in this matter,” an Alshop spokeswoman told AFP.

A number of flash mobs — dubbed rolezinhos in Brazil — have descended on retail centres in recent days.

Many of the youths involved are low-income black teens. In some cases, the gatherings have degenerated into disturbances and store looting.

Security was beefed up ahead of one planned flash mob on Saturday at Sao Paulo’s JK Iguatemi mall before management decided to close the center entirely.

Similarly, Shopping Leblon was closed on Sunday.

But the closures only served to heighten tensions further, with some demonstrators accusing malls of “denying entry to black and poor people.”

Continue reading ►


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