UK & World News

  • 26 January 2014, 15:48

World Cup: Protests Turn Violent In Sao Paulo

At least 1,000 protesters have taken to the streets of Sao Paulo in violent protests against the World Cup.

Activists attacked a police patrol vehicle and tried to turn it over while others smashed the windows of shops and banks.

A number of members of the public were caught up in the violence, including a mother who was pictured carrying her terrified daughter to safety after their car caught fire as it was driven through a flaming barrier.

The demonstrators are angry at what they say is a decline in public services as a result of money being diverted to stage the tournament.

So-called 'back block' anarchists marched through the streets of the city shouting: "If we have no rights, there will be no Cup."

University student LeonardoPelegrinidos Santos said: "We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup. It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.

"By 'rights' we mean the people's right to decent public services."

Fellow student Juliana Turno said: "This is a small sample of the protests that will happen when the World Cup begins."

Protests also took place in Rio de Janeiro when 50 protesters gathered in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel holding signs with anti-World Cup slogans.

Another activist group sat on lavatories on Ipanema beach in the city to protest against what they say is a lack of basic sanitation in the city.

Activist group My Rio said the aim of the protest was to raise awareness of the thousands of litres of untreated sewage they say is pumped into the sea off the city every day.

Activist Leona Deckelbaum said: "The Olympics are coming, the World Cup is coming, it's a chance to draw attention and maybe the world can talk about what's happening here in Rio.

"To me it is unbelievable that there's not basic sanitation in a city like Rio."

Rio residents who were sunbathing on the beach and who saw the protest, also expressed concern about the safety of the water in the city.

"We come to enjoy. And here we get the impact (from sewage problems). It's really dirty. The sand, everything," said Ruth Ferreira.

The protesters also carved-out coloured silhouettes of common bacteria found in sewage which they laid on the sand.

Some 70% of Rio's sewage is untreated and flows into the sea off Copacabana, Ipanema and the Guanabara Bay.

These beaches are due to host several of Rio's events at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

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