As World Cup Looms, Brazilian Cities Paralyzed By Protests

The World Cup is three weeks away, but Brazeil is wracked with unrest. Demonstrations there are unified by one theme: anger over public spending on stadiums instead of on services and salaries.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. There are plenty of fireworks in the lead up to the world's largest soccer tournament. The World Cup in Brazil is three weeks away. A lot of American fans are upset about the makeup of the U.S. team, and we'll get to that in a moment, but things are not going according to plan in the host country. Brazil is racked with protests and strikes and there are a lot of issues at play. But the demonstrations are unified by one theme, anger over public spending on stadiums instead of on services and salaries.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is in Sao Paulo.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: This doesn't feel like a country that's about to host a global sporting event. There are a few decorations out. And while everyone is talking about the World Cup here, it's mostly for the wrong reasons. In fact, the only real public displays are of discontent.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTORS)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yesterday, by some counts, as many as 30,000 people marched through Sao Paulo in one of the largest anti-World Cup protests yet. Another protest is set for tonight and tomorrow. In fact, protestors are promising almost constant demonstrations in advance of the World Cup.

And then there are the strikes. In Sao Paulo over the past few days, public busses have been mostly not working, which has caused traffic and metro chaos. There were incredible scenes on the subway system of thousands of people trapped and pushing to get into the already overburdened trains. Police, teachers and even bank guards have joined in demanding better pay and conditions in this city and others across the country.

And consider this statistic. In soccer-mad Brazil, in the latest poll more than two-thirds of Sao Paulo residents believe hosting the World Cup is doing more harm than good. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Sao Paulo.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: