Photo: Wilson Dias/Agencia Brasil
Activists launched giant soccer balls here Tuesday to protest the amount of taxpayers’ money Brazil is spending to host the World Cup soccer competition, which begins June 12.
The demonstration was staged peacefully on Brasilia’s central Esplanade of Ministries, where all the government buildings are concentrated, and constituted merely the latest protest - among many undertaken so far - against the soccer tourney.
Activists with the group Rio de Paz launched 12 balls each 2 meters (about 6.6 feet) in diameter from the avenue with red crosses painted on them to symbolize the lack of security in a country where, according to official figures, some 50,000 people are murdered each year.
“In a country with those indices of violence, in which children don’t receive quality education and doctors don’t have the conditions under which to work in a dignified way, it’s unacceptable for those in power to rent and hold a World Cup with public money,” said Antonio Carlos Costa, the president of Rio de Paz.
In a document provided to journalists, Rio de Paz demanded that the country’s authorities “apologize to the Brazilian people for making them believe that the World Cup would be held only with private money.”
The group demanded an apology from the authorities for “having invested a fortune in public money in a sports competition,” which, according to the government, has cost the state some 25 billion reais ($11.3 billion).
Rio de Paz also criticized the fact that “the people were not consulted” about the decision to organize the World Cup and demanded that FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, be forced to “state objectively how much of the astronomical earnings that will be obtained will remain in Brazil.”