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Anti-World Cup demonstrations held in Brazil, violence in Sao Paulo

Jan 26, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

Demonstrators march along Paulista Avenue to protest against the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament and demand better public services in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. Last year, millions of people took to the streets across Brazil complaining of higher bus fares, poor public services and corruption while the country spends billions on the World Cup, which is scheduled to start in June. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine) AP

Demonstrators took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Saturday night, with more than a thousand protestors organized in support of “Operation Stop the World Cup”. The worldwide soccer tournament is scheduled to begin in Brazil this June, and to last a month.  Last year, protests attracted millions of citizens, complaining of higher bus fares, poor public services and high rates of corruption, all while the country focused attention and resources on preparing for the World Cup.

While Saturday’s demonstration in Sao Paulo was mostly peaceful, with participants waving flags, carrying signs and chanting “there will be no World Cup,” there were a few clashes with police. When the protest reached downtown Sao Paulo, members of the “Black Block” anarchist group attacked an empty police car, while others torched a small car and smashed the windows of banks. Police responded by firing rubber bullets and releasing tear gas to disperse the crowd. More than 100 protestors were detained.

A demonstration also occurred in Rio de Janeiro, although there only around 50 people turned up. They gathered in front of the Copacabana Hotel, holding signs criticizing the World Cup, before marching along the streetside boulevard. Small demonstrations were also held in several cities around the country.

The protestors are upset with the millions being spent on staging this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, believing the money could be put to better use by investing in health, education, transportation and housing. It appears as though Saturday’s demonstrations will be just the beginning. Student Juliana Turno said, “this is a small sample of the protests that will happen when the World Cup begins.”

  1. talgrath - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    The interesting thing is the organizers have no one to blame but themselves here. Had they actually been organized and started working on the stadium renovations immediately after securing the World Cup there would be less money wasted and fewer problems. Instead, they delayed and delayed and delayed until a mere two years or so out and then were forced to beg the government for more money (which they received) to speed up construction. This might just be the most ineptly run World Cup in the history of the modern day.

  2. thedeadlockvictim - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    We’d be happy to take off your hands, Brazil, if you don’t want it. Signed, USA.

  3. sportsfan69 - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    I’m surprised it’s not happening in the USA. Subsidizing Billionaires to build their sports stadiums while education and intra-structure projects (public transport-roads) are eliminated. Then again, everything on FOX news reports is the truth, the wealthy (top 1 percent) are the only ones worthy for of public moneys and tax breaks, because they’re jobs creators of minimum wage jobs that our young/future generations can achieve.

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