Before the World Cup began, many wondered whether police in Brazil would be able to quell the many protests against the government’s spending lavishly on the tournament, but those concerns appeared ill-founded – until Tuesday. The defeat of the host team triggered riots throughout the nation to mourn the loss against Germany.
Minutes after the Brazilian soccer team suffered its worst defeat in 94 years – a 7-1 rout – various cities across Brazil began to experience violence, vandalism, and, apparently, a lot of arson.
– Barbara (@_barbaraxo_) July 8, 2014
Brasil is on fireeepic.twitter.com/Afy5x1gAEW
– Alfonso (@Montanista11) July 8, 2014
According to Spain’s Libertad Digital, various cities suffered different levels of calamity over the match. In Belo Horizonte, the city hosting the match, fans leaving the stadium clashed throughout the night in violent street fights, while inside the stadium, fans attempted to break apart the infrastructure in protest.
In Sao Paolo, fans burnt down an entire bus station.
Sao Paolo is the largest city in Brazil and home to some of the most violent protests in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. More than 20,000 protesters were believed to have participated in the anti-government rallies leading up to the tournament. Protesters objected to the use of public funds to build stadiums and new public transportation systems for the comfort of tourists, particularly in contrast to the lack of investment in social programs and public education. President Dilma Rousseff, currently up for reelection in the South American nation, dismissed such complaints as “absurd.”
In Rio de Janeiro, the riots were less dramatic visually but more dangerous to passersby, as video footage shows vandals using the match as an excuse to damage businesses and attack bystanders:
Other parts of the country, like the town of Recife, experienced enough strife that reports surfaced of extensive use of tear gas on large crowds of young fans angry at the results of the match. Other, smaller acts of protests also occurred as fans congregated to observe the loss, including fans burning Brazilian flags in the aftermath of the loss.
Brazil is the winningest team in the history of the World Cup, and, as current hosts, was among the favorites to win the tournament. The match was both the most tweeted-about sports event in history and the most watched program in the history of German television.