Protests on the street, but support from the stands - Brazil's love-hate relationship with World Cup bid

Greg Stobart & Kris Voakes
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The beginning of the Confederations Cup has not gone entirely to plan, but there are already signs that that running battles between protesters and the authorities could be overcome thanks to Brazil's constant thirst for football.

Following initial protests in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday over rising transportation costs, there were threats of similar protests in the buildup to matches at each Confederations Cup host city. And so it proved from the very beginning.

Saturday’s opener between Brazil and Japan in Brasilia was preceded 24 hours earlier by the burning of tires across the main road outside the Estadio Nacional, bringing traffic to a standstill around the city center.

Come match day, around 3,000 more people protested outside the stadium, drawing attention to their argument for more money to be spent on public services for the poor instead of luxury football grounds which could quickly become white elephants. The dissidents passed around copies of Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic, letting it be known that they had a right by law to “gather peacefully, without weapons, in places open to the public, provided they do not frustrate another meeting."

Added to the loss of public money which could have been spent on valuable services for the needy, many are even losing their homes as a result of displacement brought about by the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

As many as 170,000 people in Brazil have lost, or are at risk of losing, their homes as part of evictions related to the two grand sporting events. In Rio alone, up to one-fifth of people could be permanently displaced, with more than 19,000 people resettled since 2009 and at least 40,000 more currently going through eviction.


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