Protests Sweep Brazil in Advance of World Cup

Alex Wolff

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As soccer fever ramps up across the globe in anticipation of next month’s World Cup, many citizens in the host country of Brazil are somewhat less than excited. Preparations for hosting the tournament have drained billions of dollars from the country's economy and forced some citizens to relocate so that millions of fans, players and officials can flock to Brazil for the competition. Organized demonstrations in twelve cities—those where the tournament’s matches will take place—drew thousands of participants this week, as tournament organizers race to complete preparations. The Guardian reports: Carrying banners declaring, “Na Copa vai ter luta” (The Cup will have protests), appeals for a general strike and claims that the cost of refurbishing the Maracanã stadium could pay for 200 schools, the demonstrators rallied with striking workers in the broadest show of dissent in several months. With the tournament so near, protesters are now hoping to use its ubiquity worldwide to raise awareness of the substandard living and working conditions they’ve been made to endure. “The world is looking to Brazil and we are showing that the World Cup doesn’t represent us,” said Felipe Mesquita, a history student at the Fluminense Federal University. “I like [soccer]. I like the national team but we also have to think about what the World Cup means. We shouldn’t accept all the bad things that go with it such as forced relocations and the limits on rights to protest and strike.” The World Cup is scheduled to begin June 12, but a number of stadiums are still under construction. Brazil last hosted the tournament in 1950. Their team is considered one of the favorites to win this year's competition.

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Alex Wolff is a Spring 2014 editorial intern.
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