By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Demonstrators gathered in Rio and São Paulo on Saturday to protest the country’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup later this year. Police and protesters clashed in São Paulo resulting in more than one hundred demonstrators being detained.
In Rio, approximately fifty protesters assembled near the front of the famed Copacabana Palace hotel in an event dubbed by the organization Anonymous Rio, as “Operation Stop the World Cup.”
While in São Paulo, according to the Military Police (PM), upwards of 2,500 demonstrators took to the city’s Avenida Paulista to protest spending for the upcoming international event.
There they chanted; “If we have no rights, there will be no Cup.” One demonstrator, university student Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos, explained to the AP; “By rights we mean the people’s right to decent public services. We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup. It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.”
Saturday’s chants echoed cries heard round the world during the massive protests of last year and marked the first major demonstrations of this year against the World Cup.
In response to the protests, filmmaker Carla Dauden, creator of the viral sensation, “No, I’m not Going to the World Cup”, told The Rio Times; “Hopefully this is just the beginning of a much bigger movement, people are starting to realize there is still a lot that can be done before the World Cup, and even though most of what we do won’t change the fact that money has been already spent, making real changes will symbolize a lot and will help us define what country we want to be from now on.”
Consisting of some twenty different social movements, the organization behind the São Paulo demonstration released a manifesto before the event, stating in part; “The uprising of June has clearly shown that the Brazilians have realized: the billionaires spent on building stadiums, which do not improve people’s lives, they just take away from investments in social rights. But June was only the beginning!”
As the day wore on and the group made their way from Avenida Paulista towards the city’s Downtown area, members of the anarchist Black Bloc movement reportedly turned the protest violent, smashing the windows of storefronts, banks and cars.
Police and protesters then allegedly clashed with the police releasing rubber bullets and tear gas. By then end of the day, 128 people were arrested during the protest according to the Military Police.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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