The protests in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are nothing new. Many Brazilians made their fury and concern over their country hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup well known in the weeks and even months leading up to yesterday’s opening match between Croatia and the home team. But while some of the people of Brazil were celebrating Neymar’s two goals and the team’s 3-1 victory in the stands at Arena Corinthians, others were dodging rubber bullets and tear gas canisters being fired at them by riot police. Not even the team’s first victory and a sense of patriotism could silence the protesters, as they are back at it today, trying to let the world know that behind the soccer, there’s a nation that could have used the millions spent on stadiums and preparation for far more important things.
Yesterday’s protests began peacefully, as people marched in the streets of São Paulo, approximately 8 miles from the stadium that the opening match was held in, but they ended with a clash between the protesters and police, with many people, including journalists and photographers, being injured. Some of the protesters recognized the imminent danger represented by the riot police, but others stood their grounds, lighting barricades of trash cans and debris on fire while they took their licks from the armored officers. If it’s true that a picture says a thousand words, well, prepare to lose count.
Many of the protesters have reportedly adopted battle cries of “Our cup is on the street” and “There is no cup” to draw attention to the lack of food, education and medical attention for the men, women and children of Brazil. Their beef with FIFA bringing the World Cup to their backyard, then, stems from the obvious fact that millions of dollars have been spent on stadiums and accommodations for visitors, while the natives continue to suffer.
And this isn’t just limited to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, or even the rest of the Brazilian cities that will be hosting World Cup competition. Protests have been organized for as many as 100 cities, according to the Guardian, but there aren’t cameras in most of those cities yet. Last night, protesters attacked an empty TV studio in São Paulo while the cameras rolled.
According to the Guardian, a CNN producer also suffered a broken arm during the protests (the BBC reports that it was actually reporter Barbara Arvanitidis), after being struck in the arm by a tear gas canister. It’s ironic that one of the things that these protesters are trying to raise awareness over is the corruption and excessive police force that comes with such a massive event, as Rio ends up looking like this:
While these images are indicative of yesterday’s situation in Rio, there were also protests and clashes between civilians and police in Brasilia, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte, where at least 200 protesters were met by the riot police.
Signs and middle fingers hidden behind Guy Fawkes masks soon turned into trash fires started by masked vigilantes, because nothing says, “Take us seriously, government” like starting an uncontrolled fire in the middle of a public street. Eventually, the riot police stepped in to detain, arrest and “control” some of the protesters in Belo Horizonte.
These photos from São Paulo display the mindsets of some protesters as they went up against the riot police and the barrage of tear gas and other such angry mob deterrents.
Of course, it’s not all tear gas and broken arms, as this guy seemed like he had a blast making his way through the protesters in Rio.
Now, if you’re the type of person who likes his protests to feature less violence and more artwork, the people of Brazil also have you covered.