By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, March 9th, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff condemned, via Twitter, recent acts of racism against a Brazilian soccer (football) player and referee. The incidents happened in the south of Brazil, and has raised alarms in the media and sports community.

President Rouseff, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
President Rouseff during Fortaleza’s Castelão stadium opening in 2013, photo by Glauber Queiroz/Portal da Copa/ME.

The first incident of racism occurred in Mogi Mirim`s stadium in São Paulo state when popular team Santos’ defensive midfielder Arouca met with cries of “monkey” from a smaller group of supporters during his team’s 5 to 2 victory over Mogi Mirim (a smaller team in the state) on March 6th in the 12th round match of the state tournament there.

Next at a match pitting Esportivo against Veranópolis, in Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul, referee Márcio Chagas da Silva was also allegedly called “monkey” by fans while refereeing the match and bananas were reportedly left on top of his car and in his exhaust pipe.

“Brazilian football was marred by scenes of racism against the referee Márcio Chagas da Silva and Arouca,” Rousseff tweeted on Sunday. “It is unacceptable that Brazil, the largest black nation outside of Africa, should meet with these scenes of racism.”

With the FIFA World Cup scheduled to begin in Brazil in less than one hundred days on June 12th, international attention is focusing on the country’s preparations in all areas for the games. Additionally Rousseff stated optimistically; “Let’s tackle racism! I know with the UN and FIFA this World Cup will also be the Cup of Peace and Cup against racism.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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