Anti-World Cup Demonstration Results in over 100 Protester Arrests in Brazil

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2014

Demonstrators destroy a bank to protest the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament and demand better public services in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. Last year, millions of people took to the streets across Brazil complaining of higher bus fares, poor public services and corruption while the country spends billions on the World Cup, which is scheduled to start in June. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
Nelson Antoine/Associated Press

As the 2014 World Cup draws closer, the unrest in Brazil only grows.

Over 100 demonstrators were arrested following a protest of the event in Sao Paulo on Saturday, Jan. 25, per the Associated Press (via The Guardian):

Violence flared on the streets of Sao Paulo on Saturday after more than a 1,000 demonstrators protested in against Brazil's hosting of the football World Cup later this year.

Waving flags, carrying banners and chanting "there will be no Cup", the demonstrators took to the streets in what the Anonymous Rio protest group billed as the first act in its "Operation Stop the World Cup" campaign.

The event was largely peaceful but police later clashed with some protesters.


Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, dispersing the crowd. More than 100 demonstrators were detained.

This is just the latest entry into what has been one of the most captivating stories in world football. Problems have plagued Brazil's bid to host the World Cup almost from the word go.

The protesters chanted, per the report, "If we have no rights, there will be no Cup."

Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos, a college student in Brazil, explained to the AP what was meant by that statement:

By rights we mean the people's right to decent public services. We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup. It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.

Brazilian football journalist Tim Vickery (via explains how the infrastructure improvements that were supposed to be a part of this hosting process have fallen by the wayside and why the Brazilian citizens are so upset:

Being so slow out of the blocks inevitably meant that costs would rise, and the list of infra-structure projects would be reduced. When it comes to the way they are ruled, the Brazilian population has a great deal to protest about.

The fact that the stadiums turned out to be so impressive only made matters worse. Who wants first world stadiums and third world public services? And so a phrase caught on in the hand-made placards of the protestors - 'FIFA standard'. If we can have FIFA standard stadiums, they asked, why can't we have a FIFA standard country?

It became clear that Brazil would be hosting the 2014 World Cup back in 2003, when South America was determined to be next in the rotation. No other South American country was prepared to formally bid to host the competition—Brazil being officially named the hosts in 2007 was only a formality.

Even with all of that time, Brazil have let things run right up until the last minute. Stadiums aren't complete, and as a result, more money is having to be spent, which means cost overruns and hazardous work environments as construction workers hurry to build everything in time.

And as Vickery points out, the money allocated for infrastructure improvements is funneled to the stadiums.

In short, it's all a mess.

Tensions boiled over last summer during the Confederations Cup. Protests outside of the stadiums became as big of a story as the games that were happening on the pitch. Those same protests will almost certainly continue right up until and through the World Cup.

And who knows if everything will actually be done in time?