RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Their country was once ranked one of the happiest in the world — a stunning, massive marvel, the emerging "B" in BRICS, and soon to play host to two of the planet's hugest sporting events, the World Cup and the Olympics.
So what's making Brazilians so angry?
Youths have hit the streets with a vengeance in recent days in the country's largest cities, forming peaceful mobs that, on Monday night, reached about 100,000 in Rio and tens of thousands in other places.
What started as small protests against a bus fare hike has spiraled into major rallies that, at their root, reflect economic woes. Their gripes include what protesters say is a brutal mismatch of what the government spends on spiffying up Brazil for the World Cup versus what it gives to make life better for the common Brazilian.
Their rage mounted and numbers grew after police hit back against peaceful protesters with tear gas and other state violence reminiscent of their dictatorship.