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The football world championship began in Brazil amid denunciations by communities and urban social movements against its impacts. The World Cup Popular Committee organized in the 12 cities where the megaevent will take place started four years ago to resist and denounce the Cup´s implications for the communities directly involved, and the Brazilian population as a whole. The World Cup has started, but their resistance continues.
The excessive investment of public funds to build infrastructure to the detriment of priority areas such as health, education and housing; huge benefits for large companies and almost no benefit for small shops; the bans on the right to protest; excessive attacks by the police; “cleaning” policies in poor areas of the host cities. These are some of the situations denounced by Brazilian movements. In the opening day, there were also demonstrations, joined by police attacks, arrests and violence.
“In Porto Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul State) we have practically 15 thousand people affected by the World Cup, and 250 thousand people were affected throughout Brazil or are at risk of being impacted”, said Fernando Costa, member of Friends of the Earth Brazil, making reference only to those displaced or at risk of being displaced by the infrastructure works.
All impacts and benefits (for a few) are protected by law. In mid 2012, thanks to a powerful “lobby” by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the General World Cup Bill was passed: “now in Brazil, we have some kind of anti-terrorist law”, said Costa.
“Social movements on the streets are being criminalized, for instance, through the creation of legal processes to incriminate people and preventive jail measures in some States, like Sao Paulo”, he added. Costa also denounced the persecution of activists who oppose the event promoted by FIFA, and their control by intelligence agencies, such as in Brasilia, the capital of the country.
The law also took a toll on small businessmen with the creation of “exclusion areas”. According to analysis by social groups, this type of measures goes beyond the scope of neoliberal policies: “We look at the history of capital and see that the market is considered as a market regulator. Here we are talking about a territory where a law was created just for some companies to have the space to sell their products”.
Below you can find a video by Memória Latina about the mobilizations that took place in Rio the opening day of the World Cup.
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