Sunday, July 13, 2014

Protest in Rio Prior to World Cup Final (Updated)

An estimated 200 people are taking part in a protest hours before Sunday’s World Cup final match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to the Brazilian press, the anti-World Cup rally is taking place in Rio’s Tijuca neighborhood near the Maracana Stadium where the German and Argentine teams are currently facing off.

Some participants carried banners in Portuguese and English with insignias like “Blood Cup” in the demonstration that is reportedly part of the local “Our Cup is On the Street” protest movement organized by labor unions and leftist opposition political parties.

Update (4:15 PM): Police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at several hundred demonstrators roughly a mile near the Maracana.   At least two people are injured from the actions that occurred as the World Cup title match was held. It's not clear if these actions are related to the aforementioned protest in Tijuca.

Update (5:35 PM): Via New York Times journalist Simon Romero's Twitter - six people were injured in a "FIFA Go Home" protest near Maracana as police clashed with some 300 demonstrators.  

Update (11:55 PM): We've added a video of the protest including the police shooting tear gas at demonstrators.

Over 26,000 military police personnel have been deployed throughout Rio today as part of a massive security operation aimed at maintaining order today.

Throughout the month that soccer’s premier tournament has taken place, demonstrations were held in several cities hosting matches. Nonetheless, attendance for these rallies has been far smaller than an estimated one million people participated in demonstrations last summer while support for protests among Brazilians has fallen in the past year.

One of the factors behind the decreased support of anti-World Cup protests in Brazil may have to do with a police crackdown on suspected demonstration organizers.  Rio police yesterday arrested nineteen people accused of committing violent actions and vandalism during anti-World Cup protests.  Among those detained was lawyer Eloisa Samy whose arrest was denounced by the Brazilian Bar association as an attack on an “attorney defending arrested protesters.”

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International’s Brazilian division critiqued the crackdown and possibly excessive actions by law enforcement during the last few weeks of protests. Yet despite criticism of the police and controversy over the massive public spending for the World Cup, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has declared the tournament a complete success:

"We showed that our people know how to have good interaction not only among ourselves but with the foreigners that we received," she said Friday night at the presidential residence during a meeting with foreign journalists. "We competently maintained peace and order, as well as having good airport administration among other successes."
Video Source– YouTube user Ben Tavener

Online Sources including Updates –; O Globo; Amnesty International Brazil; The Latin Americanist; Los Angeles Times; Buenos Aires Herald; Twitter

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