Brazil’s World Cup Protests

Brazil’s World Cup Protests

The ongoing public demonstrations in several Brazilian cities are protests in response to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics.  As early as January, demonstrations against the World Cup cascaded into street riots in many of Brazil’s cities. The intentions of these protests are to draw attention to Brazil’s persistent problems

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The ongoing public demonstrations in several Brazilian cities are protests in response to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics.  As early as January, demonstrations against the World Cup cascaded into street riots in many of Brazil’s cities.

The intentions of these protests are to draw attention to Brazil’s persistent problems of poverty and inequality.  Brazilian anti-equality movement started a campaign against public spending on sports extravaganzas.  On June 12th, the day before the opening game of the World Cup, police forces clashed with protesters in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and ten other host cities.  Protests are targeting the high costs of stadiums built for the World Cup and the remaining preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics, along with police corruption, violence, and evictions.  Demonstrations across the country are chock-full of various public service employees.  Teachers are calling for the government to invest more money in education, bus drivers are concerned about the future of Brazil’s transportation infrastructure, and public service employees worry about public safety and health care.

The protests reportedly began in a peaceful manner but took a turn for the worst after one protester provoked a policeman into using tear gas and pepper spray.  Amnesty International has accused Brazil’s police force of exaggerating their use of riot weapons against protesters.  Police have reportedly resorted to the use of stun grenades and tear gas to control protesters.

One university student involved in the riots explained: “by rights we mean the people’s right to decent public services.  We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the cup.  It is the money that should have been invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing”.  With the Olympics coming and the World Cup in full swing; it’s an opportunity for those who feel neglected by their government to draw attention to and influence the rest of the world to talk about what’s happening across Brazil.  In addition to the criticism being received from the general public, a member of parliament who was once a professional football player, Romário de Souza Faria, has announced that he believes the World Cup is the “biggest theft in history.”

With a presidential election due to take place after the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if the government’s priorities will change and if the seemingly endless civil unrest across Brazil will begin to die out.

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