Well over 400 people attended an anti-World Cup protest on Wednesday, March 12, in downtown Rio de Janeiro, and were closely followed by police.
The march, organized by the Independent Popular Front – RJ, walked along Avenida Rio Branco, from Candelaria to Lapa, through Cinelândia.
Activists specified through social media that the focus of the protest was on bill 728. This anti-protest bill is just one tactic the Brazilian state has employed against world cup protestors. It would allow for the criminalization of blac bloc and mask wearing, and effectively labels protests as “terrorism.” Read more about this and similar bills here.
In Sao Paulo, on March 13th, around 3000 protestors marched against the world cup. They were matched in numbers by riot police, however, who followed them closely throughout the demonstration.
(ntd.tv) Local reports varied giving estimates of the number of police to be on hand between 1,700 and 2,300.
Activists are demanding more money be spent on education, health care, public transportation and to fight crime.
One demonstrator, Carolina Silvestre carried a sign with the popular protest slogan “Nao vai ter Copa” which loosely translates into English as “There will be no World Cup.”
She said that Brazil should not be hosting the football tournament.
“In the condition that we are in without hospitals, without schools, sick people in the halls (of hospitals) there isn’t the means to have the World Cup, you think this is fair? No, you don’t have to have the World Cup while the situation isn’t getting better. There won’t be a World Cup,” Silvestre said.
The crowd was largely peaceful as they marched carrying large protest signs denouncing corruption and the costs of hosting the world’s biggest football tournament.
Police accompanied the protest march closely throughout the night.
At the last World Cup protest in February police used tear gas bombs and stun grenades to disperse the crowds and detained scores of demonstrators, most of whom were held and searched only to be later released.
Local lawyer Cesar Monteiro said that Thursday’s protest is about trying to right social inequality.
“A World Cup is not our priority. Our priority is quality transportation, a system of quality universal health care, quality universal education. These are the demands of this protest in reality,” Monteiro said.
Another protester Joao Paulo said money should be going towards alleviating the public’s true priorities.
“Why are we a nation of so many social inequalities and the World Cup receives so many investments that could go to basic sectors like education and health care, for example?” Paulo said.
Thursday’s protest comes less than three months before the FIFA World Cup will kick-off in Sao Paulo on June 12.
Many believe protests will continue up to and during the football championship and could disrupt the tournament.
Last June more than a million people from around the country demonstrated during the warm-up Confederations Cup. – Source.