Meet the 16-Year-Old Leader Of OCCUPY Rio’s Fiercest Standoff
All eyes (and billions of dollars) are focused on the Summer Olympics here, but Brazil’s teenagers just want decent schools. Violent clashes and death threats couldn’t deter Victor Grecco from fighting for his right to learn.
Photos by Camila Svenson
It is July 6th, the eightieth day of the student occupation of Paulo Freire High School in Rio de Janeiro’s north zone community of Cachambi. About a dozen teens stand guard behind the old entry gate, cornered off in the fight for their school. Sixteen-year-old Victor Hugo Cabral Grecco is positioned atop a makeshift barricade of stacked tables and upside down benches. Grecco, with a slight muscular build and fierce brown eyes, looks into the faces of opposing students, just below him on the street. Many nights spent sleeping inside the school have birthed an intensity within him. He stands here, ready to protect his school and his friends.
The white banner that once hung on the gate – reading “#Ocupa Paulo Freire” – has been torn down. It signaled a frontline that pitted classmates against classmates, arising out of poor conditions seen in their school. The occupiers were inspired by a wave of similar protests that spun throughout São Paulo beginning late last …
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