Brazilians Protest More than FIFA; World Cup Controversy Comes to a Boiling Point

By NICHOLAS BRAMANTE

Although the Olympics are memories that are not so far away, it seems protesters in Brazil are far more concerned with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The purpose of the protest was not to try and stop future world cups or to protest the upcoming event itself; but to protest the immense amounts of money spent on the event. World Cup expenses by Brazil in 2014 have exceeded 11 billion dollars, a groundbreaking amount for the country hosting the Cup.

On Saturday February 22nd, nearly a thousand people in Sao Paulo, Brazil took to the streets in their, at first, peaceful attempts to protest the event. “There will be no Cup!” and “Cup for the rich, scraps for the poor!” were some of the various chants shouted out by the protesters on the streets.

Some time into the protests and marches, the once-peaceful crowd broke out into anarchy and chaos. Some point fingers at the police who allegedly would not allow the protest to continue, while others seem determined to blame apparent “anarchists” found within the crowd.

Some of the demonstrations included window smashing and garbage-fires in the streets. As soon as the crowd began to participate in these violent actions, countless police were deployed to begin dispersion. Using tools like stun grenades (that use extreme sound and flashes) and tear gas, the police made hundreds of arrests that night.

The official number was actually 230 arrests, as posted on Twitter by the Sao Paulo military police. Within those numbers five journalists, two photographers and three reporters were apprehended. According to the local newspaper, “Even having been identified by their professional documents, journalists were lined up down the sidewalk,”

With five police officers and two protesters injured, the event did not go without its price. While more police officers may have been reported to be hurt, many protesters pointed out the police were instigating the violence with their readiness and willingness to strike the crowd. A piece of a cold but real opinion comes out from 19-year-old protester Lucas Souza, who explains that “the government is trying to make believe that Brazil is all cheer and carnival, but it's not like that. This is a very unequal country,”

Another outbreak of protesting occurred in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, more specifically at the city’s central station. Again the protesters were met with tear gas and batons as protesters attempted to convince commuters to rebel against the expenses being used in preparation of the World Cup. Many protesters claim that the protest is solely against the expenses, which they believe benefit Brazil in no way whatsoever. Campaigner Thomas Ramos stated once and for all that "there's dissolution with the World Cup. We love football but we don't like the economic and social consequences of the Cup.”

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