Brazilians have once again taken to the streets in Rio de Janeiro to protest the government’s spending on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Some 100 protesters held a silent march along the Copacabana Beach on Saturday to denounce the costs of hosting the tournament and police repression in Brazil.
The protesters accused the police of using excessive force during previous demonstrations. The participants of the march wore gags over their mouths to symbolize the Brazilian authorities’ crackdown on demonstrations.
“We, the protesters, are gagged in every way, in every way,” said protester Jerusa Lopes, adding, “When the people are at the protests, the violence of the police is huge, is really big. We almost are not allowed to go out to protest.”’
The demonstrators also demanded the release of the three people arrested during earlier anti-World Cup rallies.
The Sunday protest came a day after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters outside Rio’s Maracana Stadium. The demonstrators protested against the cost of the tournament, chanting slogans against FIFA and the Brazilian government.
Brazil has seen almost daily protests and strikes over the USD 11-billion expense of the World Cup. Critics say the money should have been invested in health, education, transportation, and housing sectors. They also accuse the Brazilian government of corruption in deals related to the infrastructure of the games.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, however, has emphasized that investments in stadiums, airports and other infrastructure would provide the country with long-term benefits.
Rising inflation and a sluggish economy have reportedly tarnished the World Cup image in Brazil, which is the biggest country with the largest economy in Latin America. The World Bank said in 2012 that nearly 16 percent of Brazil’s population of 200 million lived below the poverty line.