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With the FIFA World Cup coming in less than a month, the Brazilian government has sent in the tanks to restore order amid anti-world cup protests against the hosting cost of this international football competition. The riot police have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo who marched against that demand. Some protesters hurled stones while others burned tyres and blocked roads.
The cause of their anger was that billions of dollars are being spent on next month’s FIFA World Cup, rather than social projects and housing. Including Brasilia, the anti-world cup protests also took place in other cities in Brazil. Among others, teachers and civil servants also join in the protest across Brazil.
In Rio, hundreds of people were marching in rush-hour traffic on a main thoroughfare. The Rio riots drew the attention of the world as Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the final match of the FIFA World Cup 13 July.
Another city, Sao Paulo, hosting the inauguration match against Brazil and Croatia, was affected when the protesters cut off access to the Avenida Paulista.
The federal troops arrived in the World Cup host city of Recife on Thursday, as the state police are on strike demanding better pay in that city.
Protests are more frequent:
The number of people protesting on the street was much lower than during similar anti-world cup protests last year. Although some of the activists promised that the demonstration would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closure. More than a million people took to the street last June over poor public services, corruption and the vast cost of World Cup hosting.
According to BBC the Brazil government is looking closure to the protests as it indicates a security challenge for them. In addition the with the World Cup and the Presidential election coming in the same year, many groups are spotted to put pressure on the current government.
‘No panic, just protest’
The head of the Homeless workers movement Guilherme Boulos said,
“Our goal is symbolic. We don’t want to destroy or damage the stadium.”
On the other hand the Government was trying to downplay the scale of Thursday’s protest, arguing it was not linked with the upcoming World Cup at all. On behalf of the government, Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said ,
” I’ve seen nothing that is related to the (World) Cup”.
He was assuring that there’s no reason to panic in receiving three million Brazilian tourists and 600,000 foreign visitors for the World Cup tournaments.
The anti-world cup protests were planned along with a range of strikes, including the one by the police force in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. On the third day of strike the army was deployed to provide additional support after some robberies and looting.
The local media reported that total 234 people were arrested in the last 24 hour.
The Brazilian leaders had believed that the World Cup and then 2016 Olympics in Rio would put a spotlight on the country. They show the advances over the past decade in improving its economy and pulling tens of millions out of poverty cycle.