‘There will be no cup!’ Police use tear gas and rubber bullets as 1,000 demonstrators riot in Sao Paolo smashing bank windows and attacking police cars
Pulling their children from the flames, this family were among hundreds of ordinary Brazilians forced to flee after an anti-World Cup protest in Sao Paulo erupted into violence.
The mother screamed in terror as she carried her bewildered five-year-old daughter out of the car, while the father leapt out of the driving seat to help their 11-year-old daughter escape the flames engulfing the family Volkswagen.
They were attacked by a rioter who threw a Molotov cocktail at the car when they tried to cross a barricade set up by protesters in the city on Saturday.
Demonstrations were held in more than 30 cities across the country, but the Sao Paulo demonstrations quickly turned violent, with more than 100 people arrested.
Opposition to the cost of hosting the World Cup this summer has become a rallying cry for millions of disaffected Brazilians – who believe they are being prevented from seeing the benefits of their country’s rapid economic boom.
Student Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos said: ‘We are against the millions and millions of dollars that are being spent for the Cup.
‘It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.’
He added: ‘If we have no rights there will be no Cup. By rights we mean people’s right to decent public services.’
At least 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Sao Paulo in protest over the mounting cost of holding the World Cup in Brazil later this year.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the Sao Paulo art museum for about an hour before heading out to another part of the city chanting slogans against the tournament while waving banners and flags.
But the demonstration descended into violence yesterday as they approached the central area of the city, with rioters attacking an empty police car, while a civilian’s car caught alight while driving near a road on fire.
The Anonymous Rio protest group billed ‘Operation Stop the World Cup’ as this year’s first act against the football tournament on its Facebook page.
During the demonstration several protesters chanted: ‘If we have no rights, there will be no Cup.’
Fellow student Juliana Turno said: ‘This is a small sample of the protests that will happen when the World Cup begins and will be bigger than those of last year.’
Last year, millions of people took to the streets across Brazil complaining of higher bus fares, poor public services and corruption while the country spends billions on the World Cup, which is scheduled to start in June.
Those demonstrations coincided with the Confederations Cup football tournament, a warm-up tournament for the World Cup.
In Rio de Janeiro, about 50 protesters gathered in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel, holding up signs blasting the World Cup and occasionally chanting.
After about an hour, the crowd moved onto a main street that runs along Copacabana beach, halting traffic as police watched from the side.
Small demonstrations were also held in several other cities.