Thursday, June 12, 2014
World News: World Cup 2014 begins amid protests
Spoken By RichaTee
Hours before the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazilian police and protesters clashed, adding to the host country's black eye of construction delays and political unrest, Reuters reported Thursday morning.
Police fired noise bombs and tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 200 demonstrators angry over spending on the event, Reuters reported. A witness told the news outlet that the protesters attempted to cut off a key road leading to the Corinthians Arena where the opening soccer match was to be played on the eastern edge of Sao Paulo.
Local media reported the arrest of one protester, and a producer for CNN was injured during the confrontation. Protests were expected to grow before Brazil's team plays Croatia. About 20 million people live in the metro area of Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city and business capital. Many Brazilians are angry over the $11.3 billion spent on hosting the World Cup when basic social services are poorly financed, according to Reuters.
The negativity surrounding the event overshadows the tourism draw as 800,000 foreign tourists are expected in the country. Locals also hope that country pride could grow once play gets underway. Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has dismissed complaints about the heavy spending and delays in preparing stadiums and airports, and is sure that Brazil will put on a show.
However, the main risk lies in the violent street demonstrations. Protests and labor strikes are planned in 12 host cities, including a 24-hour slowdown by some airport workers in Rio de Janeiro, and the threat of a subway strike in Sao Paulo has gone away. Some businesses in Rio have boarded up windows and doors late Wednesday in case protests erupted.
And, the stadium is a problem. It was constructed six months late for $525 million, at about $150 over budget, Reuters reported. Officials say today's game will be the facility's first at full capacity causing logistical concerns. Any logistical problems and political unrest could damage Brazil's reputation among investors, but the World Cup event will show how well the country does in 2016 when it hosts the summer Olympics.