During the Confederations Cup last year, an estimated one million Brazilians participated in street protests to express their ire at government corruption and public spending for the World Cup. The possibility that these mass mobilizations would repeat during the World Cup this summer has not materialized in part due to dwindling public support.
A poll released last week found that 54% of about 3800 people nationwide in May backed anti-World Cup protests, which represents a drop from 75% in August of 2013. These percentages reflect individuals who have participated in prior marchers, were interested in taking part in the rallies and supporters of the protests.
The survey carried out by the Brazilian government SAE agency found that opposition to the protests has increased from 26% ten months ago to 46% in May.
Much like the results of a June 2013 Datafolha poll, the SAE noted that most participants in the protest movement are young adults with higher education. Yet about 23% of respondents to the SAE poll disagreed with the reasons behind prior protests and, hence, has not taken part in recent manifestations.
Several factors could explain the decreased backing of anti-World Cup protests in Brazil. A few of the demands made in last year’s protests, such as preventing an increase public transit fares in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, have been met. In contrast to the largely peaceful marches last year, protests over the last few months have become more violent. The more overtly political nature of the recent rallies has apparently turned off Brazilians who may have been interested in supporting or participating in protests this year. The Brazilian team at the World Cup may have come within a whisker of being eliminated by Chile over the weekend but the squad has won four straight matches and is still in the hunt to win the tournament.
As we mentioned two weeks ago, a police crackdown on those believed to be protest leaders could also be influencing public opinion against the demonstrations. This crackdown was recently criticized by a member of Brazil’s Activist Lawyers Collective as a “criminalization of the social rights movement.”
Despite the SRE poll, protesters in Recife have seen greater public support of their efforts to prevent the razing of buildings in the Cais Jose Estelita part of the city for the construction of a “high-rise development project.” As many as 3000 people reportedly took part in a June 22nd Occupy Estelita rally including demonstrators angry after watching recent videos of police using rubber bullets, batons, and tear gas against activists:
“They've been fighting this New Recife project since 2012, because the last thing this area needs is entirely private spaces and skyscrapers that will ruin the view and clog up the streets,” said Rodrigo Acioli, a local publisher. “But I was nothing more than, you might say, a Facebook supporter, until I saw Tuesday's violence”…
Video Source– YouTube user SNTV
“They can't just destroy the existing sheds and put in what some companies want,” says Mayara Monique Rodrigues, a 17-year old student who was visiting the site for the first time. “That's the kind of thing that has caused so much anger and demonstrations over the last year, including around the World Cup stadiums: excluding public participation and public space.”
Online Sources – El Tiempo; BBC News; The Latin Americanist; The Huffington Post; Fox News Latino; Univision.com; Terra Mexico