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Behind World Cup—Brazilians Protest Brutal Gentrification

 

In a soccer-obsessed Brazil, violent protests have flared amidst preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Thousands of Brazilian citizens and indigenous communities gathered together to fight against development projects encouraged by the International Federation Football Association (FIFA), a multi-billion dollar industry, and the Brazilian government.

Thousands of people have been removed from their homes at gunpoint, and had their homes demolished—all for the benefit of FIFA and World Cup tourists. Protesters have claimed that poor black and indigenous people are the main targets of this violent gentrification, which the government pitches as urban “renewal” projects. Police violence is common, and the government is quiet about this violence and social abuse.

The protests began with a rise in bus fares, which ignited an explosion of untapped dissatisfaction with poor public services. This occurred while the country invested highly in mega-events like the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, injecting billions into the stadium construction while poor women give birth in waiting rooms and on the streets, schools are scarce and underdeveloped, and doctors lack medicine to treat the sick. Advertising and tourism companies fetishize Brazil for women and sports, but behind the scenes, indigenous and slum communities are under attack from this violent, modern day colonial conquest.

Sources:

Donna Bowater, “Police Brutality Marring Run-up to Brazil World Cup,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/6/police-brutalitymarringrunuptobrazilworldcup.html.

“Brazil: FIFA Forces Evictions For World Cup, Police Brutality Rages,” Revolution News!, January 9, 2014, http://revolution-news.com/brazil-fifa-forces-evictions-for-world-cup-police-brutality-rages/.

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