Brazil Protests: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know



Around a year of protests have rocked every major city in Brazil as people voice their disapproval of the massive amount of government spending going into the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In order to host this year’s cup, Brazil spent billions of dollars to refurbish stadiums in 12 cities across the country, and build a new World Cup stadium in nation’s capital, Brasilia.

Here is what you need to know about the protests, the cause, and the World Cup:

1. The World Cup Will Cost Billions

famous brazil street art

In an already iconic work of street art, photographer Paul Ito captures the frustration Brazilians feel over having to reconcile the large price tag of the World Cup with their struggling public sector. This work was painting on a public school. (Getty)

The costs for the World Cup are astronomical, with estimates going as high as around $10 billion. Al Jazeera reports that Brazil has spent $3.6 billion just building new stadiums and refurbishing old ones. This is in addition to the $7 billion being spent on infrastructure costs.

When the cost is fully calculated, critics believe the people of Brazil will be paying around $62 million per match.

2. The Protests Arn’t Just About the World Cup

brazil soccer protests

A homeless man sits along a canal as police follows the demonstrators during a protest against the upcoming FIFA tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 15, 2014. Brazil faced a test of its security preparations for the World Cup on Thursday as demonstrators disgusted at the tournament’s price tag called widespread protests. Ongoing strikes by police and teachers and the threat of a nationwide strike by federal police also raised fears of chaos with four weeks to go until football’s biggest global spectacle. (Getty)

The protests, sparked by government spending for the World Cup, soon became an outlet through which citizens could voice more general critiques of their government. According to The Guardian, protestors are using the new political movement to oppose what they see as elitism, rampant corruption, and overspending within the Brazilian government.

3. This Month Protests Turned Violent

brazil riot police

Riot policemen confront protesters during clashes following a protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brasilia on May 27, 2014. Police in the Brazilian capital fired tear gas Tuesday to break up a protest of Indian chiefs and groups opposed to the money being spent to host the World Cup. (Getty)

In January 2014, after months of protesting, police took to the streets in force in an attempt to restore order. Violence quickly ensued. Police rained tear gas and rubber bullets down on an increasingly angry coalition of anti-World Cup activists.

With signs that say they want schools and hospitals instead of the World Cup, protestors continue to flood the streets of at least 12 Brazilian cities for months. On May 16, the protestors called for a “Day of Action,” a massive demonstration that ended in 7 deaths after clashes with the authorities.

4. Anti-World Cup Graffiti Has Sprung Up All Around Brazil

brazil graffiti


Across Rio de Janiero, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia, graffiti has popped up critiquing and lampooning the World Cup, as well as celebrating the ongoing protest movement.

Above, you can see a piece of graffiti, located near the World Cup stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the 2014 World Cup mascot, named “Fuleco” is seen having sex with what appears to be an indigenous woman. Next to it the question is asked “How many removals are made by a cup?” referencing accusations that the government have displaced or threatened to evict up to 250,000 people to make room for the games, reports the Washington Post.

5. The World Cup Begins Thursday June 12

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The World Cup begins June 12 at 17:00 local time. The match will be in Sao Paulo and will pit Brazil’s team against Croatia.

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