Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO — Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday in protests against President Dilma Rousseff and her government.

Demanding an end to corruption in Rousseff’s multi-party government, many demonstrators called for Rousseff to be impeached.

Local media reported protests in more than 200 major cities across the country – the third such nationwide outpouring of dissent this year.

Police put crowds nationwide at 879,000 — more than in a similar protest in March but fewer than at one held in April.

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Anadolu Agency

RIO DE JANEIRO – Police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at anti-World Cup protesters who clashed violently with riot police at a rally near the Maracanã stadium in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, as the tournament final between Germany and Argentina was about to kick off.

As well as voicing anger over World Cup spending by the government, protesters also demanded an end to what they see as police repression and denounced the preemptive arrests of 37 protesters ahead of the rally.

The rally was held 1.2km from the stadium, and a mixture of military, riot and mounted police forces heavily outnumbered the 300 protesters present, some of whom identified themselves as from the anarchic “Black Bloc” movement.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO – A demonstration by the Homeless Workers’ Movement and other aligned protest groups drew crowds of around 15,000 people outside São Paulo’s World Cup stadium on Wednesday, the movement said during the event.

Police estimated 4,000 people had taken part in the protest.

The movement is demanding housing and the legalisation of around 90 plots of land its members have occupied around São Paulo and others across the country.

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SÃO PAULO – A march through the streets of Brazil’s biggest city, São Paulo, reunited thousands of people calling for the legalisation of marijuana on Saturday.

Police said 3,000 people took part in the march, which was accompanied by only 120 police officers accompanied – far fewer that have been seen at the recent anti-World Cup protests, when police have regularly outnumbered protesters.

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Anadolu Agency

SÃO PAULO – The latest in a series of protests against the World Cup in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, marched through the city center Wednesday evening in a bid to draw attention to problems with the country’s public health system.

Despite pouring rain, around 400 people gathered for the start of the fifth protest in a series, held under the banner of Não Vai Ter Copa (“There Will Be No World Cup”) at the world-famous São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) on the city’s central Avenida Paulista business avenue.

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Sao Paulo World Cup Protest. 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

Protesters shout: “Hey, FIFA! Pay my tariff-a!” São Paulo World Cup Protest, 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

Protesters took to the streets in a number of Brazilian cities on Thursday to show their disapproval of the government’s spending of public money on this year’s World Cup.

The biggest protest, in São Paulo, saw around 1,000 people march down the central business avenue, Avenida Paulista for the fourth time in 2014.

See photos of the protest

A similar number of military police also lined the streets, protecting businesses and onlookers from potential vandalism and violence – seen at previous events. Traffic was diverted away from the protest and police blocked demonstrators from entering side streets.

Sao Paulo World Cup Protest. 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

São Paulo World Cup protest blocks part of the city’s main business avenue, Avenida Paulista. 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

Although agitated masked individuals, purporting to be from the anarchy-loving Black Bloc group, united at the head of the protest and verbally abused photojournalists at the scene on more than one occasion, Thursday’s protests saw no violence and no arrests unlike previous editions of the demonstrations held under the general banner of “Não Vai Ter Copa” (Portuguese for “There Will Be No Cup”).

The protest largely related to the upcoming World Cup, but some condemned police violence: protesters reminded onlookers of the recent case of Cláudio Ferreira, who was dragged behind a police car through the streets of Rio after being shot in a police operation against armed gangs in a favela community in the city.

Others gave a reminder of next week’s 50th anniversary of the 1964 coup d’état and ensuing military dictatorship – of which protesters said today’s military police are a living legacy.

One of the São Paulo protest’s organisers, 20-year-old Vitor Araújo, said that its peaceful nature had shown that the demonstrators just wanted a platform to air their grievances, and that police had provoked tensions and violence at previous events:

“We’ve shown that things don’t start with us,” Araúja told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. “We organized ourselves in such a way to avoid any kind of problem, as they start only when the military police repress them.”

At the end of the protest, the city’s fifth edition was announced for Tuesday 15 April.

Coordinated protests

William Oliveira, a 30-year-old tourism student from São Paulo told the Anadolu Agency that it was his right to come to the street to protests: “I’m hoping the country will improve now that people are coming out onto the streets, going online, and fighting for their rights.”

Sao Paulo World Cup Protest. 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

“There Will Be No World Cup!” 27 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener

“We’re here to protest, legitimately, against public money being spent for private ends,” São Paulo teacher Jaqueline Meire, 24, told AA.

“We know there is no way we can take back the money that has already been invested in the [World Cup] stadiums, but I hope that as a result of these protests our grievances, demands for public services like transport, health and education, will be addressed.”

An anti-World Cup demonstration was also held in Rio de Janeiro, where protesters gathered at the Central Station, before marching on the city’s main Avenida Presidente Vargas road.

Similar small-scale events were also held in Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte.

Despite their small scale, the nationwide coordination of Thursday’s protests was reminiscent of the mass protests seen during the Confederations Cup in June 2013 and the way in which they were organized.

And although Thursday’s protests are a far cry from last year’s mass protests, in terms of numbers, they have maintained surprising momentum and appear intent on continuing until the World Cup begins in São Paulo on June 12.

Indeed, a protest has already been called for near the city’s World Cup Arena Corinthians stadium, also known as the Itaquerão, for the tournament’s opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

Extended version of article written for Anadolu Agency

Hundreds of people took to the streets of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and business centre, on Thursday night in a largely peaceful protest against the country’s hosting of the World Cup – which begins on 12 June this year at the city’s Arena Corinthians stadium.

See photos from the event

13 March 2014 - World Cup Protest in São Paulo, Brazil - Photo by Ben Tavener

World Cup Protest in São Paulo, Brazil. 13 March 2014. Photo by Ben Tavener.

The event, dubbed the “Third Act against the World Cup”, drew over 1,500 people onto the streets, according to police figures, although correspondents at the event say the figure appeared to be higher.

Police say 1,700 military police and riot troops were deployed to keep order, and differed greatly from the last anti-World Cup protest, on 22 February, when martial arts-trained police detained some 260 potential troublemakers in “kettles”, and tear gas and stun grenades were fired on protesters. This included at least five journalists, who were kept in the kettle despite showing their press passes.

Thursday’s march, which wound its way 10 kilometres through the heart of the city, saw only five arrests, according to police – one of which was a 15-year-old.

13 March 2014 - World Cup Protest in São Paulo, Brazil - Photo by Ben Tavener

This bank was vandalised in the mainly peaceful World Cup protest. Photo by Ben Tavener.

Military police were noticeably better behaved than before, and even acted with restraint when an explosive object – which police described as a type of ‘mortar’, was thrown at them on Avenida Paulista – the city’s central business street.

At least one bank – Banco do Brasil Estilo – was vandalised on Avenida Paulista, but businesses and wary onlookers – mainly workers and customers – were shielded by police while more volatile parts of the protest passed, with troops forming lines to seal off businesses and metro entrances.

‘No World Cup!’

The protest again ran under the banner of Não Vai Ter Copa – “There won’t be a (World) Cup” – and over 14,000 had signalled their attendance – or rather solidarity – on Facebook.

Brazil is spending R$33 billion (around US$18 billion) on the World Cup and many of the protesters are angry this money is not being invested into sorely-needed public services and infrastructure.

“I’m here not just because I’m against the World Cup, but because of everything that’s happening in Brazil, which hasn’t been going well for ages,” Débora Aoni, a 35-year-old actress from São Paulo, told an Anadolu Agency correspondent at the protest.

13 March 2014 - World Cup Protest in São Paulo, Brazil - Photo by Ben Tavener

Some 1,700 military police and riot troops accompanied the protest along its 10km course. Photo by Ben Tavener.

“We’ve got problems with transportation and infrastructure – nothing works,” Aoni continued.

“I hope a lot of people will join us at the next protest,” 24-year-old student Thiago Weber told AA. “I know people are afraid of the police but we have to stand up for our rights and our opinion about the government spending billions on this World Cup.”

This may well be helped by Thursday’s relatively uneventful protest – which both protesters and police will claim as a victory.

But while headline news in Brazil, Thursday’s protest was still a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of protesters than took to the streets in June and July 2013, during the World Cup warm-up, the Confederations Cup, but a fourth ‘Act Against the World Cup’ has already been called for Thursday 27 March.

And protests for the World Cup itself are more or less a certainty.

Unedited version of story written for Anadolu Agency