Rio Police Crush Protest During World Cup Final

Military police clashed with a small group of protestors in Tijuca as they tried to reach the Maracanã Stadium.

By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After a month of few major incidents across the host cities in Brazil, military police responded with force in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, July 13th as the 2014 FIFA World Cup came to a close. In Tijuca, military police used tear gas, physical force and batons to disperse a group of approximately three hundred protestors.

World Cup Protest Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News, Protests, Militery Police, World Cup, World Cup Finals

Military police and World Cup protestors clashed in the city’s Zona Norte neighborhood of Tijuca on Sunday, July 13th, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

Barriers were erected and transportation in the neighborhood also came to a halt as officers blocked off a road and temporarily shut down a subway station during the incident.

For several hours, residents there were unable to move freely around or out of the area and worried for their own safety. Police reportedly used tear gas and batons to disperse the demonstrators and stop their advance toward the stadium.

“I couldn’t even leave my house yesterday, due to the police restricting movement in violation of the law,” an American living in Tijuca who preferred to remain nameless told The Rio Times on Monday, July 14th, adding, “not to mention the stench of tear gas in the air and the threat of becoming a victim of indiscriminate police brutality.”

While many had feared widespread protests would sweep the city during the 2014 FIFA Word Cup, demonstrations in Rio had remained relatively calm compared to the massive protests that spread throughout the country during June of last year.

The Sunday demonstration had been organized through social networks and involved a small group numbering in the hundreds forming around 2PM with plans to march to Rio’s iconic Maracanã Stadium where the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina was taking place later that afternoon.

World Cup Protestors  Praça Saens Peña, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News, Protests, Militery Police, World Cup, World Cup Finals

Military police stopped World Cup protestors in Praça Saens Peña preventing them from advancing towards the Maracanã Stadium, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil.

Carrying signs and banners in both Portuguese and English, mostly with slogans against the World Cup and FIFA organization, the group was surrounded by military police (PM) while in Praça Saens Peña, in Tijuca.

During the incident, the neighborhood’s street of Rua Conde de Bonfim was closed and remained closed until 7PM. The Saens Peña subway station was also shut down around 4PM and remained closed for nearly three hours.

As the afternoon progressed a video taken by a user in the Saens Peña metro (subway) station began to circulate on social networks, showing commotion in the station with police jumping turnstiles and clashes between police and protesters who were heading to subway platform. At least eight people were arrested, according to the Habeas Corpus lawyers group.

Additionally, protestors and at least four journalists were wounded during the commotion. A filmmaker and photographer were allegedly beaten by police and their equipment broken. A freelance photographer, reportedly suffered wounds after being hit by shrapnel from an exploding tear gas bomb.

Stating that the level of aggression from military police when dealing with protestors was rising, Rio de Janeiro activist Alice de Marchi told NPR before the World Cup protest; “The way that the militarization has spread on the city. The militarization progress and process is very serious.”

During last year’s wide spread protests, the Brazilian military police were often criticized for ‘heavy-handed’ tactics. Sunday’s operations, especially those in Tijuca, again raised concerns about the safety and efficiency of a militarized police force.

Meanwhile, in the neighborhood of Copacabana, where the FIFA Fan Fest was a focal point for large crowds watching matches, military people intervened with pepper spray to break up several fights between Brazilian and Argentinean fans, following Argentina’s loss to Germany in the final match.

3 Responses to "Rio Police Crush Protest During World Cup Final"

  1. Mike in São Paulo  July 16, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Seems to me the protestors basically forced the police to close down the streets since they were walking in the streets. Either the police close the streets, or many people walking aimlessly in the streets end up getting run over, and then people would complain that the police didn’t do enough to protect the protestors.

    I understand, and to an extent, support the reasons for many of the protests that I’ve heard about. I do not, however, support the instigators in the crowds that I’ve heard have turned peaceful marches into violent protests; Black Bloc comes to mind. They remind me of the instigators that were hired to go into peaceful Occupy protests in the US that ended up turning some of them violent or otherwise gave ammunition to their detractors.

  2. Pingback: Rio Activist Arrests and Warrants: Daily | The Rio Times | Brazil News

  3. mike  July 20, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Pay a poor man a good paycheck and make him feel superior and he will beat his own brother to death on your orders.

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