Monday, January 27, 2014

Brazil: Police in São Paulo Arrest 128 in Violent Protests Against FIFA

According to the BBC, police in São Paulo report that they have arrested 128 people during clashes that followed a demonstration against this year's football World Cup.

A vehicle was damaged by fire. Shops, banks and a police vehicle were also damaged.

The violence forced the authorities to cancel some of the festivities planned for the city's 460th anniversary.

Earlier, some 2,500 people took to the street to complain about the cost of hosting the World Cup. 

They marched through central São Paulo waving flags, carrying banners and chanting: "FIFA Go Home."

"We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup," university student Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos told The Associated Press.

COMMENT: Saturday's peaceful protest was marred by sporadic acts of vandalism which turned into clashes with the police.

Some demonstrators attacked an empty police car and tried to overturn it, while others torched a small car. They also burned tires and targeted banks and others businesses.

Fifteen people were also reported to have been detained at a protest near the World Cup stadium in Natal, a city in north-eastern Brazil.

Last year, more than a million people took to the street in dozens of Brazilian cities over poor public services, corruption and the high cost of the World Cup.

The wave of protests prompted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to propose a referendum on political reform. She also pledged to invest 50 billion reais ($25 billion) in public transport, one of the protesters' main grievances.