Police in Brazil have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who marched against the cost of hosting the World Cup. Some people hurled stones while other burned tires and blocked roads.
They say they are angry the “billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s football tournament rather than social projects and housing.” Protests also took place in many other cities, including the capital Brasilia.
Teachers and civil servants with along others were also on strike across Brazil.
“Most people here will eventually support the World Cup when it gets under way but it cost a lot of money (15 billion to be exact) and most of that has been public money.”
Brazil is still a developing country with many not capable to work and a high level of poverty. And when you see brand new stadiums popping up in a Sao Paulo suburb at the cost of millions and around there are “squatter camps’ full of people saying they cannot afford to live, then you can see where the conflict comes from.
What the government will be looking out for is a critical mass or large group of people. If these protests are attracting 5,000 to 10,000 people every time then they will become too difficult for the police. In Rio aerial images showed hundreds of people marching during rush-hour traffic on a main city streets.
Protesters there and in Sao Paulo which is Brazil’s biggest city may clash with police before is beginning to disperse. More recently the number of people on the streets was much lower than during similar protests last year. Some of those taking part however ppromised the demonstrations would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closer.
Last June, more than a million people took to the street over poor public services and corruption and the high cost of hosting the World Cup.
The tournament is due to kick off on June 12, 2014.
Gary Duffy in Sao Paulo says that “the scale of the protests will be watched closely by the government as an indication of the security challenges they may face during the tournament.”