Sao Paulo Protest Draws 2,000 During England and Uruguay Game
A protest turned violent after the England and Uruguay game in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Free Fare movement put on the protest and demonstrations against the World Cup in 2013. However, some say this protest was to commemorate the day protesters stopped Brazil from raising the transport fares by ten cents.
"This protest today isn't against the Cup but more of a commemoration of what happened a year ago," said Ana, one of the protesters. "We took to the streets today to show that we were victorious a year ago but also to reinforce that our goal is free transportation for all."
Over 2,000 people showed up to the protest and destroyed cars at a dealership and vandalized banks.
The protest turned violent just as a World Cup game between England and Uruguay was ending roughly 15 miles (25 km) away on the other side of Sao Paulo. There were no initial reports of injured protesters, a police spokeswoman said, or of foreign soccer fans getting caught up in the violence.
The march started off peacefully as roughly 1,300 people commemorated the one-year anniversary of successful efforts to prevent a transit fare hike. Later, some protesters began breaking storefront windows and setting fires.
Television images showed groups of masked men spray painting graffiti on cars, firing off rockets and smashing public property as police responded with tear gas.
The protest caused traffic problems. Since Thursday was a national holiday, so the demonstration bothered few commuters.
Despite what Ana says, some people chanted against the World Cup. Anarchist group Black Bloc promised to disrupt at least one World Cup game to protest the tournament. Members of the group were responsible for the vandalism during the protest. Brazil spent billions on the World Cup and many thought the money should have been spent on social services.
"Even if Brazil was the champion of the World Cup it wouldn't make me happy," said Valcenie Karai. "I would be happy if their victory meant something for us. But the money they spent to host World Cup has already done enough damage."