The streets of 36 cities in Brazil carried the echoes of chants against the injustice, the violence, and the corruption the government has unleashed on the people of Brazil – particularly the poor people in the slums and on indigenous communities – on behalf of FIFA’s World Cup.
“No Cup.” “There will be no Cup.” “Don’t come to Brazil.” “FIFA go home.”
Witnesses say that on Saturday, people protested peacefully until cops attacked. As usual, the cops came looking for a riot, and started one.
In Sao Paulo alone, at least 135 demonstrators were arrested. Some of them were tourists, who were targeted as “terrorists” by cops, along with other 30 demonstrators who took refuge in a hotel on Augusta street to escape the brutality of the military police. The military riot police took the hotel by siege and held everyone inside hostage: “When they realized they lost control of the situation, the military police simply invaded the lobby of the hotel, and without even bothering to make any distinction between demonstrators and tourists, employed violence and death threats to contain a riot that did not exist in the first place,” Midia Ninja reported. The video below shows cops violently breaking in, pointing their guns at people they took hostage, and even firing what seems to be a tear gas canister in a small closed area. It was clear that they didn’t consider the minimum range for shooting rubber bullets. A rubber bullet fired from less than 20 meters can be lethal.
Cops attacked and beat people at random in the hotel lobby, as this student, a victim and a witness says. The Military Police claim they beat him so badly because he had allegedly injured “the finger” of one of their officers. Cops shot a protester twice – in the chest and in his genitals – as they claimed Fabricio Chaves resisted arrest, but a lawyer who is helping the demonstrators arrested by the cops says the police version of the story is confusing and is not supported by facts. The protester, 22 years old, is hospitalized and badly wounded. The activists of the movement Nao Vai Ter Copa (“Cup will not be”) announced that there will be a vigil on Monday at 17:00, in front of Santa Casa, where Fabricio Chaves is hospitalized, for all demonstrators injured by the military police. They hope to make mainstream media see “the brutal police violence.”
Protesters of all types departed from Paulista Avenue. Several points in the city were taken by protesters, and then the original group split, moving to different locations in the capital. Later, there were clashes between police and demonstrators in Downtown on Augusta Street, Roosevelt Square, and other streets. Police even went after Midiativistas, who were framed and arrested, while reporting on the protests.
Message posted on Twitter by @caranovanocongr: “NOTICE TO FOREIGN TOURISTS – THERE WILL BE VIOLENT PROTESTS DURING THE WORLD CUP IN BRAZIL. #NAOVAITERCOPA”
It’s likely that cops used such brutal tactics because this was a grass-roots organised nation-wide mass protest, and “the first great action against the World Cup” which is due in June (Revolution News maintained a live blog during the events). Protests took place in 36 cities to #stoptheball from stealing the houses of 170,000 poor people living in the slums, and from spending 25 billion dollars on stadiums and parking lots. All of this while schools are decaying, hospitals are “like war zones,” and a fifth of people live in utter misery, millions of them without water or electricity, and living in huts. In the name of billion dollar profits for FIFA, the government has taken even these huts from them, leaving them homeless.
But it’s not just about the cup and the olympic games (due in two years), even though these together will cost the people of Brazil some 59 billion dolars. Add to that other 50 billion in corruption. The cup is the point which brings to light what more and more people resist today in Brazil: “that the State and the Capital are siamese brothers.” For four years, people in Brazil have self-organized horizontally, and fought back against gentrification attacks, prices hikes, curtailed liberties, and increased exploitation of workers. For for years they have been fighting just for the freedom to live. People strike against transportation hikes, and refuse to pay. Their protests are colorful and sophisticated yet simple: sometimes they bring the beach to the city squares, they wear bikinis and have gatherings where they discuss publicly what concerns their lives. It’s a form of protest against the destruction of Bernardo Monteiro street, an important green area in the city which was destroyed by the State and capitalism.
Message posted on Twitter by EduⒶrdo : “Dear friends from the world, do not come to Brazil. We do not want the Cup. #naovaitercopa”
For many, it’s not just about the Cup; it’s about defeating a ruling class who is responsible for one of the greatest inequalities in the world.
“Cup for who? Overpriced buildings and constructions! Fraudulently spent public money! Families being evicted! Street animals murdered! Public Education forgotten! Public Health abandoned!” – as this message says:
It’s about showing the ruling class that, “You can’t make a World Cup with hospitals,” as Ronaldo said, is not a valid argument for destroying lives and communities.
The government barely found 3 million dollars to help them, while it has 25 billion dollars for the Cup. Even 2 days ago, in the slums of Sao Paulo, after a summer rain, hundreds of locals were flooded and everything they had was lost. There was absolutely no help from the government, even if people were left without drinking water. But it can spend 6 million on advertising FIFA’s World Cup.
Message posted on Twitter by @NesterTweets: “The Brazilian government evicted the residents of the slums near the stadium of the World Cup. If you are against this, #NaoVaiTerCopa.”
It’s also about stopping the ball from labeling people, who express their right to be against the World Cup, as “terrorists.” The government is busy training 55,000 special troops to crush the announced protests that are likely to engulf the World Cup. Andre Rodrigues, the government’s special advisor for major events at the Ministry of Justice, promised special “World Cup Courts” would be established to administer instant punishments.
Delays in building the 12 stadiums for the World Cup – only 6 have have met the deadline – are blamed by FIFA on “too much democracy”: “Less Democracy is sometimes better to organize a World Cup,” urged FIFA’s general secretary, Jérôme Valcke. “When you have a strong head of state, who can decide, as perhaps Vladimir Putin can do in 2018, it is easier for the organizers.” Spoken like a true conquistador, but equally disturbing, is this endorsement of Putin’s re-election from FIFA.
Message posted on Twitter: @LulzSecBrazil: “Brazilians will protest the World Cup! You will have problems if coming to Brazil. #NaoVaiTerCopa”
The World Cup will be hell on earth for the children: ”Brazil’s child sex trade soars as 2014 World Cup nears,” child sex slavery will explode amid rising demands from the football fans.
But the government could not care less, since these pedophiles will “invest” good money into “the economy:” “A culture of machismo, combined with extreme poverty and drug use, has created the perfect environment for sexual exploitation, say social workers like Cecília dos Santos Góis, who works for Cedeca, a children’s rights charity.
“Women in the north-east have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens, as objects even,” she says. “Many fathers see their young daughters as a source of income and that is a cultural attitude that’s hard to change.” This is what the World Cup is about, not football. This is how the poor children of Brazil will pay for the FIFA’s World. This is why these people will stop FIFA.
Message posted on Twitter by @PersonalEscrito: “DON´T VISIT FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014.”
“In a country built on bodies, seated on the blood
of the exploited ones,
We were called “violent criminals,”
as they call violent the river that drags all
but not the banks that overwhelm it…
Criminals were also called the Luddites,
the Black Panthers, the Zapatistas, the feminists,
Spain’s militias, Latin America’s guerillas,
The insurgents of Istanbul, Cairo, Athens,
Buenos Aires, Paris, Cochabamba,
Beijing, Port au Prince, Gaza,
London, Soweto, Lisbon…
Anarchist workers from Italy or Sao Paulo
Maroons from Jamaica or from Bahia
Rebels and poets from all peripheries
Madmen, criminals, students
They want us within hospices, prisons, schools
away from the streets …
A city where cars move, but people are confined.
Journalists, doctors, politicians, cannot understand
that democracy is more than just pushing a button from time to time…”