100 days – Day 51: start of the World Cup
Dateline: Brazil: over the last year there have been angry demonstrations throughout the nation.
Protesters feel that the billions of dollars that have been spent on the event, should have been used to improve healthcare, education, social services, and address the appalling poverty of the country.
The media report that delays in building and updating stadiums, airports and other infrastructure, combined with anger over the price tag, have fuelled demonstrations – some of which have become violent.
Apparently, with just hours to go before the first game (Brazil v Croatia) construction work is still taking place in parts of the country
Reports suggest that there could be strikes and other industrial action, the effect of which could severely damage what should be a prestigious event.
from The Guardian
“Earlier this week, Blatter came under attack at the Fifa congress for presiding over an organisation mired in corruption scandals, deeply unpopular with the global public and struggling to explain how Qatar was awarded the 2022 tournament – a decision that the president now acknowledges was a “mistake”. The host nation too is deep in a funk that shows no sign of abating, even as Rousseff prepares for a re-election bid in October. The economy is in the doldrums, opinion polls suggest 72% of the electorate is dissatisfied with the government, and the authorities have failed to mollify a protest movement that brought more than a million people on to the streets during the Confederations Cup.
“There has never been a World Cup so important in Brazil’s history,” said Euclides de Freitas Couto, professor of social sciences at the Federal University of São João del-Rei-Brasil. “The extensive politicisation of the tournament has triggered a popular backlash against the football team. This is unheard of.”
Recent protests have been far smaller than the million-plus crowds that marched in 50 cities last year, but some have been violent and disruptive. Earlier this week, São Paulo was the scene of teargas volleys, street fires and dire traffic congestion during a subway workers’ strike that was timed to embarrass the authorities into concessions before the World Cup.
Graffiti in many cities asks “Copa pra quem?” (“Who is this cup for?”) and several giant murals have appeared in recent weeks depicting the suffering caused by the tournament. At least three groups of protesters are calling for a new round of anti-World Cup demonstrations on Thursday. One planned for Copacabana beach is publicised by the image of black-masked protesters holding a banner reading “Fifa Killers Fuck Off. Long Live Favela Riots“.”
Police in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have used tear gas to break up a protest against the football World Cup, hours before the city hosts the opening match.
At least one protester was arrested and a CNN journalist was injured.
Protesters had tried to block a road leading to the stadium where the opening ceremony will take place.
Further protests are planned in other Brazilian cities over the expense of hosting the tournament.
TV footage in Sao Paulo showed riot police using tear gas and rubber truncheons to disperse about 50 protesters near a metro station on the route to the Arena Corinthians.
Police moved in after the demonstrators refused to clear the road.
A tweet from CNN presenter Alex Thomas said Sao Paulo producer Barbara Arvanitidis had suffered a suspected broken arm reporting from the riots.
The violence happened about 13km (8 miles) from the stadium where Brazil will play Croatia at 20:00 GMT.
Last year, more than a million people joined protests across the country to demand better public services and highlight corruption and the high cost of staging the World Cup.
Since then, other smaller anti-World Cup protests have been staged in Brazil, with some descending into violence.
BBC © 2014
And they call this “The Beautiful Game”