Vandativismo: Setting Illegal Propaganda On Fire

Vandativismo: Setting Illegal Propaganda On Fire

In Brazil, grassroots movements fight back against the misuse of public space.

Mauricio Soares
  • 1 october 2010



The Brazilian law (Law 12.034) determines very clear guidelines for political propaganda during the months preceding the elections. Placing easels or banners in trees or gardens located in public spaces, even if they cause no damage at all, is strictly forbidden. The pieces should also not disturb people’s circulation on the sidewalk. However, many candidates simply ignore the law (and the fines) and scatter their ads throughout the city, regardless of their location.

A group of youngsters in São Paulo decided not to wait for the authorities to enforce the law and started a grassroots movement called vandativismo (vandactivism, a mix of vandalism and activism), aimed at the destruction of the ads that are abusive. Using the web to spread the word, the group made a video of its actions and invited everyone to join the cause.

Whether by lighting fires, kicking the ads, spray painting the number of the law on the ads or hauling them by attaching them to cars, the message is simple: people are no longer willing to tolerate the misuse of public space.

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