Tags: Brazil | protest | unrest | fbl | WC | 2014

Brazil Police Fire Tear Gas at World Cup Protesters

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 05:55 PM

Police in the Brazilian capital fired tear gas Tuesday to break up a protest by Indian chiefs and groups opposed to the money being spent to host the World Cup.

About 1,000 protesters rallying for causes ranging from indigenous rights to housing for the homeless gathered in Brasilia's government square and began marching toward the city's World Cup stadium.

After police fired tear gas, some Indians could be seen throwing stones at some of the 500 police encircling the stadium.

Protesters also continued to block roads around the government plaza, where the congress, presidential palace and supreme court are located.

Earlier, about 500 Indian leaders scaled the congress building and climbed onto the roof, wearing traditional face paint and feathers and carrying bows and arrows, in a protest they said was aimed at protecting their rights.

The group, which brought together 100 ethnic groups from across Brazil, included Kayapo chief Raoni, an 84-year-old leader famous for fighting to protect the Amazon rainforest alongside pop music star Sting.

"Scaling the congress building was an act of bravery. It shows we're warriors who defend our rights," said Tamalui Kuikuru, an indigenous leader from the Xingu region in Mato Grosso.

The Indians soon came down from the roof and rejoined the rest of the protesters along the main avenue where Brazil's government ministries are located.

"Who is the Cup for? Not us!" shouted demonstrators. "I don't want the Cup. I want money for health and education."



Indians in Brazil have staged a series of protests in recent months, accusing President Dilma Rousseff's government of slowing the demarcation of their ancestral lands and creating policies that favor large-scale farming.

In the run-up to the World Cup, which opens on June 12, Brazil has also faced a wave of demonstrations by protesters angry over the more than $11-billion budget for the tournament, which they say should have been spent on programs to benefit the poor.

The indigenous leaders, who opened their protest with traditional prayers and drumming, aligned themselves to the broader anti-World Cup cause.

"Before organizing the World Cup, Brazil should have thought more about health, education and housing," said Neguinho Truka, a leader of the Truka people in the northern state of Pernambuco who was wearing a traditional headdress of red and blue feathers.

Last year when Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal, protests brought a million people into the streets and turned violent at times, to the embarrassment of tournament organizers.


© AFP 2018

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014 05:55 PM
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