- In a day of protests and conflict at the Esplanade, the political crisis re-escalated, causing another increase in the mentions of “Temer Out” (Fora Temer) and “Direct Elections Now” (Diretas Já), in addition to criticism towards the social security and labor reforms. The map of retweets about the protests shows the profile group traditionally linked to the opposition on the offense against the government, which does not find an organic field of defense in the networks;
- This Wednesday in the afternoon, mentions of the violence and vandalism during the protests were also highlighted, following the announcement of the sending of the military forces to contain the protesters, aggravating an already adverse scenario for the government and its allies, which suffer a new setback in the eyes of the public opinion;
- In this context, we observe — among the political actors — an increase in mentions of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, both due to his request for the president to send reinforcements to contain the protesters, and due to the fact that he is next in the succession line after Temer.
Protests at the Esplanade – political crisis re-escalates
The protests which erupted at the Esplanade of the Ministries in Brasília, this Wednesday, caused the re-escalation of the political crisis, with another intensification of the demands of Temer Out (Fora Temer) and Direct Elections Now (Diretas Já), criticism towards the agenda of governmental reforms and strong reactions to the decision of sending the military forces to act together with the police in the protests. Until 5:30 p.m., FGV DAPP’s Theme Monitor accounted for more than 210 thousand mentions in the protest category, a similar level to the one verified at the peak of the political crisis initiated exactly one week ago — and tending to increase over the next hours.
In the map of retweets about the protests — in which we analyzed around 120 thousand tweets —, we observe an increase in the debate on today’s protests in the social networks, with the group formed by profiles traditionally aligned to the opposition to the government (in red) becoming protagonists, together with the pink group, formed by profiles not aligned with that group, but specifically converging around an agenda which demands President Temer to leave and which understands that the protests in their peak were provoked by the police. The blue group, on the other hand, formed by profiles which usually criticize the left and which were favorable to the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff, appears with a large volume of interactions, but in reaction to the agenda of Direct Elections Now (Diretas Já) — not in defense of President Michel Temer — and blaming the protesters for the violence in today’s protest. In yellow, a fragile group of mediation between the groups, reinforcing the idea of conflict between the fields formed in this moment.
Map of Retweets about the Protests (Twitter – 12 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Among the thematics with larger volume of mentions in the context of the protests, “Direct Elections Now” (Diretas Já) had, until 15 p.m., around 54 thousand references, with the hashtag #diretaspordireitos (direct elections for rights) in 33 thousand posts. Following that, we observe a series of terms related to the conflict at the Esplanade, abovel all the criticism towards “vandalism” (30.6 thousand), mentions to the use of the military forces (26.8 thousand), to the “fire” (25.9 thousand) and to the “police violence” (20.4 thousand), showing the dimensions of the mood of confrontation installed in Brasília — and, consequently, in the social networks. The presence of a large volume of posts about the acts of vandalism — critical debate which was quite augmented due to the episode of fire at the Esplanade — accounted for the main agenda of the groups contrary to the protests. Even though there is a larger volume of debate among profiles favorable to the protests, the destruction of ministerial buildings made it so that criticism towards vandalism was more disseminated than possible criticism towards the acts of the police.
Volume of Mentions (Twitter – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
Evolution of the volume of mentions (Twitter – 20/05 to 24/05 until 4 p.m.)
In this context, we observe an increase in mentions to the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, the first in Temer’s succession line and the one who requested the support of national troops to contain the protesters. Maia has been considered as one of the options for the Presidency in case of an indirect election, together with names such as ex-Minister Nelson Jobim and Minister Henrique Meirelles. This Wednesday, the president of the Chamber surpassed the other eligible names and grew together with the name of the President — although at a lower volume.
Mentions to actors of the political debate (Twitter – 05/20 to 05/24 until 4 p.m.)
In the economic debate, the protests caused an increase in the mentions to economic reforms, representing a new setback for the government agenda, which had been trying to resume the legislative schedule after the peak of the crisis. By 4 p.m., the volume of mentions to the reforms had already reached a similar level to the one seen on Saturday, when President Temer — in an announcement — defended his government using as an argument, among other points, the need to maintain the economic agenda in this moment when the activity seems to be resuming.
Mentions in the economic debate (Twitter – 05/20 to 05/24 until 4 p.m.)
- Therefore, this Wednesday’s protests at the Esplanade caused the re-escalation of the political crisis — when some actors already counted on a cooling down. In this context, some points must be observed in the following days:
- The evolution of the mentions related to protests in the social networks, which could indicate the beginning of a series of acts against the Temer administration, an element which had not been seen yet since the eruption of the current political crisis, on May 17th;
- The intensification of demands for President Temer to leave and for Direct Elections Now (Diretas Já) — as opposed to those defending indirect elections;
- The volume of mentions to the main political actors, above all those who are considered as possible successors to Temer, which could indicate a convergence around one of them;
- The impact of the re-escalation of the crisis on the economic debate, above all on the agenda of the social security and labor reforms, which could have a negative repercussion on the political stability and on resuming the economic activities.
For the analysis of the protests and of the political crisis, we used data from Twitter, collecting over 210 thousand posts. The tweets collected for the analysis were posted between 12 a.m. and 5 p. m. today. For the debate of actors and themes, we collected over 1.5 million of mentions on Twitter.
The graphs (maps of retweets) are visualizations of interactions between profiles, applicable to any database where the interlocutors are related by some attribute. To aggregate the data on Twitter, FGV/DAPP does not use only isolated keywords or hashtags, but also applies an approach based on Discursive Semiotics to filter the posts by themes.
The word cloud presents the main terms, by order of frequency, used by each of the clusters identified in the network of retweets.
For further information on our research methodology, access the file “Not so simple: the Challenge to Monitor Public Policies on Social Networks”.
Marco Aurelio Ruediger
Lucas Maciel Peixoto
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