Skip to main content

Strikes, violent protests hit Brazil ahead of World Cup

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
May 16, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The World Cup opens in Brazil on June 12
  • Some protesters say government should spend more on housing
  • Other groups taking advantage of event to air their grievances

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- With barely a month until the World Cup opens in Brazil, violent protests and strikes are breaking out across the country by groups angry about the changes the sporting event has brought -- and what it hasn't.

Demonstrations were held in 18 cities Thursday. The biggest and most violent was in Sao Paulo, where police shot tear gas and protesters threw rocks and smashed the windows of a car dealership and a bank.

While thousands of people took part in the protests, they were still much smaller than the massive marches seen during the Confederations Cup last year when tens of thousands took to the streets.

In the morning, the Homeless Workers Movement blocked main avenues across the city and about 4,000 people marched on the Arena Sao Paulo where the inaugural game of the World Cup will be held on June 12.

People gather in Rio de Janeiro to protest against this summer's World Cup on Thursday, May 15. The protests broke out across Brazil as citizens expressed anger over the government spending money on the soccer tournament instead of on low-income housing or services such as health and education. People gather in Rio de Janeiro to protest against this summer's World Cup on Thursday, May 15. The protests broke out across Brazil as citizens expressed anger over the government spending money on the soccer tournament instead of on low-income housing or services such as health and education.
World Cup protests in Brazil
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
World Cup protests in Brazil World Cup protests in Brazil

Demonstrators accuse the government of spending billions on new stadiums and not enough on low-income housing.

"The World Cup has done nothing to help us," said Diana, a manicurist who has been on a list for a government-subsidized house for a decade. "So we decided to use it as a platform to make our voices heard."

Taking advantage of the global attention focused on the country for the world soccer championship, other groups are staging protests to air their grievances.

Across the country in Recife, also a World Cup venue, soldiers were deployed to rein in crime and looting after police went on strike there.

In Sao Paulo, more than 5,000 striking teachers marched to demand higher wages.

In the evening, a string of anti-World Cup protests were staged in different cities.

In Sao Paulo, activists turned out carrying banners that said "FIFA go home" and "A World Cup without the people means we're back on the street again!"

About 1,500 people marched peacefully for a couple of blocks before clashes erupted.

Anti-World Cup protesters and homeless activists vowed to keep up the pressure through the global event that ends on July 13.

A total of 600,000 foreign visitors are expected for the cup and another three million Brazilian fans are expected to travel around the country.

READ: World Cup 2014: Can the FBI help stop Brazil's World Cup protesters?

Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT