BY Paul Kiernan and Rogerio Jelmayer, WSJ

Brazilian cameraman dies of head injuries suffered during protest

A Brazilian cameraman died Monday from injuries he suffered while covering a protest in Rio de Janeiro last week, underscoring the violent nature of street demonstrations that threaten to intensify as the country prepares to host soccer's World Cup this year.

The death of the cameraman, Santiago Andrade, is the first death of the protests this year, and at least the seventh since they began last June. Mr. Andrade, 49, was filming the protest for Brazil's Bandeirantes television network Thursday when a firework lighted by a protester struck him in the head. He underwent brain surgery in Rio de Janeiro, but was declared brain dead Monday, health and hospital officials said. A funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.

Brazilian cities have been the scene of on-and-off protests since June 2013, when more than a million Brazilians took to the streets to demonstrate against a range of grievances, from poor bus services to corruption and the use of public funds to host this year's soccer World Cup, instead of spending the money on hospitals and schools. The protests have become smaller and more violent since then, with protest groups vowing to use the World Cup to air their grievances.

Mr. Andrade's death dominated television news in Brazil on Monday. President Dilma Rousseff said on her Twitter account that the death causes revulsion and was saddening, and said she'd asked the Federal Police to help with the investigations if necessary.

"It is inadmissible that democratic protests be twisted by those that don't have respect for human lives," Ms. Rousseff wrote on her official account. "The freedom to protest is a fundamental right of democracy but it can never be used to kill, harm or threaten human lives, nor to damage public or private property."

Police have arrested a tattoo artist Fabio Raposo, 22, who admits he gave the firework that killed Mr. Andrade to another man, who set it off. The scene was captured by a number of other TV networks covering the event. Jonas Tadeu Nunes, the lawyer representing Mr. Raposo, said his client had given police the name of the person who lighted the firework, according to TV reports. Mr. Nunes couldn't be reached for comment on Monday.

Police said they would seek to charge both men with murder.

Destruction of banks and other property, as well as the uses of Molotov cocktails and fireworks in confrontations with police, has become increasingly common at protests. Vitor Rocha, a 22-year-old protester who participated in the march Thursday, defended the tactics as a legitimate form of expression.

"It's not vandalism, they're acts of repression against capital," Mr. Rocha said.

The protest on Thursday was organized by a group called the Free Pass Movement, which is using street protests to call for free busing. The group expressed its regret for Mr. Andrade's family in an Internet posting. But it blamed police for deploying tear gas and stun grenades against protesters after they entered a crowded train station.

"It appears completely evident to us that the trigger for the whole situation was the police and their irresponsible actions," the group said in the blog post.

João Trajano, a political scientist at Rio de Janeiro State University, said the fact that the protests continue unabated since last year exposes failures in police work.

"If we had competent intelligence services, a lot of these people would have been identified by now, because there have been so many confrontations already," Mr. Trajano said. "They're on social networks; they're communicating. The most important thing is to identify these people and impede them from going to the demonstrations."

The police are reluctant to crack down early on the protesters because they face criticism for police brutality, he said.

Meanwhile, Brazilian journalism associations called on local authorities to better protect reporters covering protests.

"Since this wave of protests began until Santiago Andrade's death, there have been 117 cases of aggression, hostility—both on the part of protesters and police—or arrests of journalists," the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism said Monday.

Mr. Andrade was 49 years old, married, and had three children, according to Marcos Almeida, the senior editor at Bandeirantes in Rio, who worked with the cameraman for the past five or six years.

"He was very careful and calm, especially when situations became complicated," Mr. Almeida said. "We would assign him to cover intense police stories because we knew that the material he'd send in would be of high quality and that he'd help to guarantee the safety of the team."

"It's difficult. We've lost a friend and a tremendous professional," Mr. Almeida said.

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Source: Wall Street Journal