Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Police officers of the "Choque" special unit pose during the presentation of security forces for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro on May 30, 2014. (Photo: AFP Photo/Christophe Simon)

Police officers of the "Choque" special unit pose during the presentation of security forces for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro on May 30, 2014. (Photo: AFP Photo/Christophe Simon)

Brazil Readies 'RoboCop' Riot Squads for World Cup Protests

Demonstrators call out government for spending billions on soccer tournament as poor sidelined and public services are diminished nationwide

Jon Queally

As Brazilians opposed to outrageous sums of public money spent on preparations for the upcoming World Cup protest with marches and strikes, the nation's government and its police forces are boasting that they have planned for all contingencies ahead of the games, including plans to clamp down on dissent and disruption by establishing "security zones" and deploying armies of riot police in uniforms described as something out of a sci-fi movie.

In San Paulo on Wednesday, an estimated ten thousand people marched on the Arena Corinthians Stadium, where the international soccer tournament will begin next week, as they called for better treatment for the city's homeless people as well as increased funding for public transportation, health services, and low-income housing.

Watch:

In addition, as of Thursday, the union of metro workers in San Paulo announced it was going on strike to protest low wages. A famously congested city to begin with, a worker's strike during the World Cup—as international tourists pour in—would wreak havoc.

And last week in the capital city of Brasilia, indigenous protesters clashed with riot police on horseback as they voiced their anger at the dissonance between money spent on the games and the lack of resources available to the nation's consistently neglected and disregarded populations.

“Who is the Cup for? Not us!” the demonstrators shouted. “I don’t want the Cup, I want money for health and education.”

As the BBC reports on the wave of protest:

A year ago, when Brazil hosted the regional Confederations Cup tournament, more than a million people took to the streets for similar reasons in a series of marches and protests that brought the normal workings of several cities to a halt.

In anticipation of continued protest and public discontent , Brazil's President Dilma Roussef vowed on Tuesday to make "security" a top priority. According to Agence France-Presse, the nation's "military police units have been kitted out with hi-tech uniforms making their members look like something out of Robocop," a science fiction movie about a part-human, part-machine police officer. AFP addes

Around 157,000 troops and police will be deployed across the 12 host venues for the Cup, running from June 12-July 13.

Some 20,000 private security agents will also be on hand in the stadiums -- some 1,800 per venue in an $860 million operation.

In addition, 120 police officers from 40 countries will collaborate with the Brazilian authorities as they jointly collate and assess intelligence.

________________________________


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·


Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·


Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo