The Sao Paulo state government unceremoniously announced in October 2015 that dozens of schools would be closed by 2016 as part of a “reorganization” program; a decision that would affect hundreds of thousands of students. The teachers union and students — who hadn’t been consulted about the authorities’ decision — organized protests to raise awareness, but these largely went unnoticed. By early November, Brazilian students boldly decided to occupy the Fernão Dias state school — a move replicated in 200 more schools across the state in the span of a week.
“We won’t give up!” was the students’ official motto. They were forced to repeat it as they continually faced violent confrontations with local security forces.
Following weeks of resilience, the movement succeeded in halting the state’s scheme to shut down 94 public schools and pushed Education Secretary Herman Voorwald out of his job.
Three Brazilian researchers ― Marcio Ribeiro, Antonia Malta Campos and Jonas Medeiros ― conducted interviews with the protesting teens and visited a number of the occupied schools. Their work culminated in a book, titled Escolas de Luta (Combative Schools), published earlier this month. The book, which documents the student protests, is interspersed with images shot by Brazilian photojournalism collectives.
Scroll down to see some of the photos.
This post originally appeared on HuffPost Brazil and has been translated into English.