The collective, public expression of righteous indignation in response to a twenty cent increase in bus fares has led to massive police repression in a number of Brazilian cities in the past week. On the eve of the Confederations Cup, meant to be a systems test for FIFA and a small showpiece event for Brazil, this latest revolt against public transport has caught the world`s attention. Back in March, there was a similar protest about the poor ferry service in
Last year, there was a revolt against the State Transportation Secretary`s criminal
negligence in the case of the Santa Teresa tram, the military occupation of the
Complexo do Alemão happened after cars and buses were torched.
As I tried to point out in my last post, there are a number of similarities between what is happening in
Brazil and in , and
throughout much of the world. Brazilian journalists are being attacked with
rubber bullets and tear gas. Press
reports are explicitly linking the #Taksim and #Gezi struggles with that of
#passelivre which has expanded to six major cities. Turkey
The ongoing protests and violent responses are about much more than a fare increase or the fate of a vital public space. These are responses, in part, to the systematic erosion of public life and culture that come with the two step movement to empty public coffers into private pockets. These movements are fundamentally about a fight to maintain rights as citizens versus privileges as consumers.
Unfortunately, the governments` responses in both
are as violent as they are predictable. In both cases police have been instigators
of violence and perpetrators of vandalism. In both cases, the major media
outlets have walked hand in hand with the government to try to discredit these
movements and to call into question the rights of citizens in a democracy to
take to the streets to demand their rights. In both, journalists have been
arrested, shot, silenced and hassled. Unarmed people are met with lethal force
on city streets, escalating crises of governance. Brazil
One major difference is that in Istanbul, football fans have been politicized even more than usual, coming together to lead the fight. In
Rio, the torcidas
organizdas have been anesthetized, depoliticized and co-opted for so long that
they are completely irrelevant.
Below is a press release for the Copa Popular, an initiative of the Comite Popular da Cope e das Olim-piadas that will draw attention to the forced removals undertaken in order “to prepare” the city for mega-events. Hopefully the international journalists covering FIFA’s party will pay attention to the realities beyond the air-conditioned, securitized and segmented off-worlds in which they circulate.
Residents of communities threatened with removal compete at the “Popular Cup” this Saturday
- Tournament represents a different form of protest against forced removals and the exclusion of low-income residents of
- Official launch of Saci Pererê as the popular mascot
Far from the billion-dollar marketing campaigns and overpriced stadiums of the Confederations Cup, Brazilian and international audiences will be able to follow a different championship that is taking place this weekend. On Saturday (June 15), communities being threatened with forced removal will gather for the “Popular Cup” at 10:00am in the Port Zone of
initiative—organized by “Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics”—will show that soccer
should be synonymous with fun and integration, as opposed to with alienation
and tragedy. Men’s and women’s teams from diverse communities including Morro
da Providência, Santa Marta, Salgueiro, Vila Autódromo, Indiana, and others,
will compete for the Cup, while
simultaneously and symbolically protesting the city’s exclusion of low-income
residents in the name of huge sporting events. Rio de Janeiro
In addition to the players, the “People’s Cup” expects the presence of other residents from the communities who will both support their teams and tell personal stories facing the threat of removal. The intention of the event is to show that behind the soccer festivities of the Confederations Cup, the government is committing a series of irregularities and human rights violations. In Rio de Janeiro alone, more than 11,000 people have already lost their homes and another 29,000 are being threatened with removal, based on the false justification that this is necessary for the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016). While the country spends R$ 15.8 million (about US $7.4 million) per game of the Confederation’s Cups(R$ 252.5 billion in total; US $118.4 billion), families are displaced, receiving tiny compensation which does not allow them to find adequate and dignified housing. In a city where the average square meter costs R$ 9,000 (according to a study by the
Institute of Economic Research, FIPE), forcibly
displaced families are receiving sums as low as R$ 10,000 (about US $5,000),
which cannot even pay for two square meters of property in . There are also cases of
families that are removed and have spent two years waiting for any reparation
from the government. Rio de Janeiro
Saturday will also be the official launch of the Popular Mascot of the Cup, “Saci Pererê." If soccer is our rightful heritage, we cannot accept that companies are owners of the symbols of the sport. As such, the image of Saci, which will be on the front of the teams’ t-shirts, will adhere to the rules of “copyleft,” and can therefore be used by any people or vendors wanting to reproduce and sell the t-shirts on their own.
Information about the communities and the teams on the field can be followed in real time through the Facebook of the Committee: www.facebook.com/
Event information: https://www.
The matches will be played in Quilombo da Gamboa, an area of land taken over by the population in order to construct affordable housing—well in the middle of the Port Zone, which is undergoing a process of real estate speculation with the "Porto Maravilha" project. All are invited for a true democratic celebration of the sport.
Copa Popular - Contra as Remoções
Quilombo da Gamboa - Rua da Gamboa 345, Rio de Janeiro
Starting at 10:00am
Comitê Popular da Copa e das Olimpíadas
Information for the press
Kate Steiker-Ginzberg (21) 8369-0077
Mario Campagnani (21) 9849-2025
Renato Cosentino (21) 8267-2760