Anti-World cup protests continue in 100 cities across Brazil including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to mark the countdown to the kick-off. Just hours before the opening ceremony at Itaquerão protesters started fires and attempted to block of a road leading to the venue.
Protesters chanted “Fifa go home”, “World cup of corruption”, “Fifa give us our money back”, and “We don’t need the world cup”. The 2014 World Cup has been named the “biggest theft in history” by a former Brazilian footballer Romario. The real cost of the world cup has been estimated at $46 Billion dollars. The world cup was prioritized despite the health care and education needs of the Brazilian people. Effecting the poorest of the Brazilians, the government effectively “cleaned” the streets by forcing the homeless out of the streets in order to portray a tourist friendly Rio to the world.
The unions in Brazil also took industrial action at Rio’s main airports, including Galeao and Santos Dumont. Also subway workers were on strike in São Paulo (financial capital of Brazil) just prior to the start of the World Cup games to exert further pressure on the government.
The protests in Brazil is another reminder of the growing presence of people’s voice in the matters of big capital spending of nation states. The Brazilian people have underscored the anti-human priorities of capitalism that continues to widen the gap between the rich and the poor and turning a blind eye towards human basic rights and needs. While the government spends $46 Billion on on the World cup and another $33 Billion on the Olympics, the minimum wage remains at $320 dollars a month. And the people of Brazil are not alone, similar protests have been taking place in France, Ireland and Canada.