Brazilians protest against hosting 2014 World Cup [Xinhua]
BRASILIA, May 15 (Xinhua) — Brazilians frustrated with poor public services took to the streets Thursday across the country, claiming their taxes are spent on preparations to host the upcoming 2014 World Cup.
The so-called Day of Struggle against the World Cup saw demonstrations in seven of the 12 state capitals set to host World Cup matches, and dozens of other cities.
Massive public spending on the large-scale sporting event, coupled with a transit fare hike, first sparked anti-government protests a year ago, but as the June 12 to July 13 World Cup nears, protests have started up again.
The Association of World Cup People’s Committees (Ancop) presented a list of grievances they want authorities to address, including their demand to protest freely during the championship, compensation for the families of construction workers who died building the stadiums and other venues, a guarantee that families displaced to make way for the new stadiums will be provided with adequate housing, a freer press and more government spending on public transportation systems and a free fare.
In Sao Paulo, groups of protesters blocked several major avenues, including streets near the city’s Corinthians Arena, site of the inaugural match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.
In Brasilia, the Movement of Workers Without Shelter (MTST) occupied the offices of a state-run real estate agency and demand the government fulfill its pledge to help those unable to afford a home.
Demonstrations also took place in Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Salvador, as well as smaller cities.
The protests appear to contradict Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo’s assertion on Tuesday, that protests during the World Cup will be ” isolated events.”