Friday 19 January 2018

Over 100 arrested in Brazil as anti-World Cup protesters clash with police

A man tries to drive his car which demonstrators set on fire amid protests against the World Cup (AP)
A man tries to drive his car which demonstrators set on fire amid protests against the World Cup (AP)

Over 100 people were arrested in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, during a protest against this summer’s World Cup which will be hosted in the country.

Around 2,500 people took to the streets on Saturday for the demonstration which ended in clashes with police late in the night.

In some of the most dramatic scenes, a family were rescued from a burning car which caught on fire after a man reportedly attempted to drive over a blazing barricade started by protesters on a road.

Demonstrators gathered in front of the Sao Paulo Art Museum for about one hour before heading out to another part of the city chanting slogans against the tournament. Several chanted “If we have no rights, there will be no Cup.”

Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, after some anarchist demonstrators wrecked an empty police car, attempting to overturn it, while others smashed the windows of banks and started fires.

Officials were forced to cancel some festivities planned for the city's 460th anniversary following the unrest.

On its Facebook page, the Anonymous Rio protest group billed “Operation Stop the World Cup” as this year's first action against the football tournament.

“By rights we mean the people's right to decent public services,” said university student Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos.

“We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup. It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.”

Fellow student Juliana Turno said: “This is a small sample of the protests that will happen when the World Cup begins.”

Demonstrations were planned for more than 30 cities, but turnout was small in all but Sao Paulo.

In Rio de Janeiro, about 50 protesters gathered in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel, holding anti World Cup placards. The crowd later moved onto a street that runs along Copacabana beach, halting traffic as police watched from the side.

Last year, millions of people demonstrated across Brazil complaining of spending on the World Cup despite heightening bus fares, poor public services and corruption.

Independent News Service

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