Protesters hold ‘fake’ draw in Rio
A small group of protesters gathered outside Rio’s famous
Maracana stadium – the site of next year’s World Cup final – to
criticize the cost of staging the event and accuse politicians and
FIFA of profiting at the expense of Brazilian taxpayers.
The protest, termed the ”World Cup Anti-Draw” took place
Friday as the actual draw was held 1,400 kilometers (850 miles)
north in the coastal resort of Costa do Sauipe.
The billions being spent to stage the World Cup and the 2016 Rio
de Janeiro Olympics have triggered sporadic protests across
The grievances have united groups opposing everything from high
taxes and soaring costs, to forced relocations of the poor living
in favelas (slums) to make way for World Cup- and Olympic-related
Friday’s gathering was light-hearted. Protesters held a fake
draw ceremony, chanted slogans as they pulled plastic balls from a
bowl, and ridiculed local politicians and FIFA.
”The people are the big losers,” said Demian Castro, a
spokesman for an activist group that organized the event. ”All of
us are living in cities that are getting more expensive. The World
Cup has driven up the cost of living.”
This one was tiny, but Brazilian authorities and FIFA are
preparing for large and persistent protests during the World Cup,
which opens June 12 in Sao Paulo and ends July 13 in Rio de
Violent street protests took place six months ago throughout the
Confederations Cup – the warm-up for the World Cup – and grew in
intensity with 1 million taking to the streets in a single day.
Six people died in connection with the demonstrations with
police and soldiers routinely using tear gas, rubber bullets and
shock grenades to break up crowds.
Brazilian authorities are spending about $3.5 billion to build
or renovate 12 stadiums, four of which are likely to become white
elephants after the tournament.