According to a survey carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics on 2,000 of the country’s residents, 42 percent of respondents are against Brazil hosting this year’s World Cup. And they are not staying silent about their discontent. Street fights, poster campaigns, Youtube Videos – the protest against the most expensive World Cup of all time has many faces. People are mainly protesting against the giant investments that are flowing into sports arenas and not into the health system; against corrupt politicians and entrepreneurs who are pursuing their own profit and not societal gain; against the privatisation of public spaces; and against the displacement of residents from their homes.
Democracy? Maybe not…
The local population does not have much say. They can only defend against the violation of their rights (e.g. the disregard of housing protection of the indigenous population). FIFA and its sponsors could make changes to the law that would facilitate the organisation of the World Cup. In any case, “less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup“, says FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.
The Brazilians “want a more democratic and more social Brazil, which finally puts an end to the historically grown inequality especially in public education and health, they want a community that works better, so that they do not just sit down if more than eight billion euros are spent on a world championship.” (Barbara Unmüßig, CEO of Heinrich Boell Foundation)
“No, I’m not going to the world cup”
The 23-year old Brazilian Carla Daudén, who lives in Los Angeles, criticised the massive expenditure of public funds, the forced relocation and police violence in a video that has already been watched over four million times. It appeared three days before the nationwide mass protests on 20 June 2013.
Cartazes dos protestos – Posters of Protest
People have also been venting their anger about the dark side of the World Cup through customised posters. The protest posters, which are present at every demo, are compiled in an online collection, so that more people can hear and see the voices of resistance.
The non-profit blog Copa Pública is constantly being updated with news of human rights violations in Brazil related to the World Cup. You can access the stories here (most are in Portuguese) while Global Voices is translating some of them into English.
In light of stories about police brutality against protesters, Amnesty International is also currently running a petition calling on the Brazilian government to allow for peaceful protests and to ensure that authorities are correctly trained and briefed in managing protests to ensure that protesters rights are not being infringed upon. You can sign Amnesty’s petition here.
The article was first published on our German platform by our editor Ms. Hanadi Siering and has thereafter been translated.
With all eyes turned towards Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we’re going beyond the stadium and putting the spotlight on local people, organisations and movements that incorporate and implement smart approaches to sustainability and social justice. Find other articles in the series here.