Tens of thousands of protestors were in the streets of Belo Horizante, Brazil Thursday. The Brazilian soccer team was hosting Uruguay in the semifinals of the Confederation Cup. The Brazilian people were shouting at police, soccer fans, and FIFA soccer players, telling them ‘take your ball and go home.
One person was killed, 20 were injured, and more than 30 were arrested, amid the destructive scene around the city. Store windows were smashed, houses were vandalized, and vehicles were set on fire.
The man who died was 21-year-old Douglas Henrique Oliveira, who fell from an overpass during the demonstrations at Mineirao stadium.
As a crowd of nearly 50,000 people marched towards the stadium, another young man fell from an overpass, but he did not suffer serious injuries. There were reports of at least one person being hit in the eye with a rubber bullet, and injuries from broken glass.
The demonstrators were protesting against next year’s World Cup, which will take place in Brazil. They are angry at the expenses incurred by their country in construction for the ‘Cup,’ while many Brazilians live at or near the poverty level.
When workers arrived at a Kia dealership in town, they found five cars burned at the show room, and others had been set on fire across the street. Total damages were estimated at two million dollars.
“Are we going to invest here again? And how will it be during the World Cup? Will the state guarantee security? Is it worth risking it again? We are really afraid,” Larissa Lopes said.
Protestors threw rocks, and painted signs on buildings saying “FIFA” go home.
The protests occurred about a mile from the stadium where demonstrators were kept away from close proximity to the stadium by police barricades.
Brazil has been ravaged by demonstrations both peaceful and more violent. They are demanding better public services, political reform and less corruption, among other complaints.
The world cup is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of fans during the World Cup next year. Will the protests be larger? Will they become more violent if the government does not meet some of the demands of the people?
It doesn’t appear as if they will stop. Brazilians are telling FIFA to ‘take your ball and go home.’
The Guardian Express