1. On June 24, President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a five-point reforms package, one element of which involves a major political reform. It's unclear if or how that reform will take place, but the fact that it has been stalled so long and is suddenly a real possibility is testament to the power of the protests.
2. On June 26, for the first time since at least 1988, Brazil's Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for a congressman charged with corruption. In 2010, the Court issued a 13-year jail sentence for the legislator. The sentence was also upheld this week.
3. On June 25, the Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly voted against PEC 37, a controversial constitutional amendment that some say could have lead to more impunity. Voting against the bill was one of the demands of anti-corruption protesters. Representatives also voted on a bill from Dilma to dedicate 100 percent of oil royalties to education; they agreed to give 75 percent to education and 25 percent to healthcare.
4. Changes are afoot in Rio's favelas. In Rio on June 25, between 1,000 and 2,500 people marched from the favelas of Rocinha and Vidigal to the upscale neighborhood of Leblon to protest in front of Governor Sérgio Cabral's home. I am not sure if this has ever happened before, but certainly not in recent memory. It is a big deal, and it's because of the power unleashed from the countrywide protests.
Following the protest, columnist and TV personality Marcelo Tas posted a samba song on his blog called "The Day the Morro [Favela] Comes Down and It's Not for Carnival." An excerpt: "There's no official body, nor government, nor League/nor authority that could buy this fight/nobody knows the power of these people/it's best that the Power gives the people their happiness back/because otherwise everyone will dance the day/that the morro comes down and it's not for Carnival." [basic translation]
In Rio on June 24, protests against a police operation in the Maré favela led to the invasion of the favela by BOPE (the SWAT team) and the National Guard. The peaceful protest earlier in the evening ended in a mass mugging on Avenida Brasil, so police went after the alleged culprits in Maré; one police officer and at least 9 residents died during the firefight. And something else happened without recent precedent: residents held a protest within the favela on June 25, and BOPE agreed to leave, for now. Because Brazilians are extra-sensitive to police brutality after the protests, the operation seems to have become a bigger national story than it might have been; police say they're going to do a full investigation to determine if there was "excessive force."
5. FIFA has promised that the Confederations Cup will continue as planned, and that the organization has no plans to move the World Cup to another country. "We are definitely not under siege," said FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke this week, in an interesting choice of words. But the fact that it had to make these assurances is being called "an embarassment" to the government as it prepares for numerous mega-events. Ahead of expected protests, FIFA canceled an event in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday, when Brazil will play Uruguay. FIFA President Joseph Blatter also canceled an appearance at the event.
Image: Midia Ninja.