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Brazil

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brazilian gov’t says protests will fail

Demonstrators are seen in a protest against the Brazilian government in Rio de Janeiro, last year.

UN expresses concerns over police repression in letter to Rousseff

BRASILIA — The minister of the Brazilian presidential office Gilberto Carvalho yesterday predicted that plans of various groups to protests during the World Cup this year will fail.

Carvalho told reporters that “the Brazilian people love football and wait for the World Cup,” that will be held in the country from June 12 and is rejected by social movements due to the high public spending that has been required for its organization.

“If anyone tries to politicize the World Cup they will not get away with it,” said Carvalho, who assured that the country will make the sporting event “a huge mass party.”

Carvalho admitted, however, that the protests called by those who oppose the World Cup “worry” the government because of the increasing outbreaks of violence.

The last of these episodes occurred on February 6 amid a protest in Rio de Janeiro, where a cameraman called Santiago Andrade was wounded in the head by a flare thrown by a protester and died after spending four days in a coma.

Carvalho said that in Brazil there is a tradition of violence in protests and declared his concern about what he saw as the “import model” of protest.

“We must tell the world that Brazil is a democratic country in which demonstrations are welcome, natural and a sign of the social and civic maturity of the people,” said Carvalho.

However, he said that democracy “does not tolerate violence in the protests.”

“The only problem we have and which will talk about with the Brazilian people is the emergence of violence in the demonstrations, that we understand to be an imported protest model,” he added.

Tougher penalties

Besides proposing dialogue with protesters against the World Cup, the Brazilian government has announced that in the coming days it will send a bill to Congress, as a matter of urgency, which will apply tougher penalties to those who use violence in protests.

The demonstrations against the World Cup began in June last year during the Confederations Cup, and then merged with mass protests demanding better public services.

So far this year there have been two mass protests against the World Cup.

UN worried

The UN yesterday expressed to the Brazilian government its “concern” at reports of police repression against demonstrators since the protests broke out last year.

FIFA have supported the repressions along with anti-terrorist measures rom the start.

A letter, that was made public yesterday, was sent by the UN to President Dilma Rousseff mentioning the “alleged use of excessive force against protesters.”

Rousseff has already spoken at how disgraced she was by the protesters who killed Andrade last month in Rio de Janeiro.

“The Brazilian provincial police acted in an arbitrary and violent manner, making excessive use of tear gas and rubber bullets,” said the UN letter, revealed yesterday by the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo.

In the same letter the UN also recognizes that “some protesters acted violently,” but the police are responsible for having arrested “a large number of peaceful demonstrators” and injured dozens of journalists.

Meanwhile, the Order of Lawyers of Brazil announced it would investigate the police brutality that occurred last week in Sao Paulo when more than 200 people were arrested at a rally with about 1,000 participants.

That day the São Paulo Militarized Police called for agents specialized in martial arts who detained dozens of youngsters before the rally began without them having commited any crime.

Law enforcement authorities in Sao Paulo felt that this new form of action was a success and also announced the purchase of several armoured cars with water canons that cost US$15 million.

A survey published this week by Folha de São Paulo confirmed what analysts had already predicted: public support for of the World Cup fell to 52 percent compared to 79 percent in November 2008, and 38 percent of respondents declared themselves openly against the event, a figure that was only 10 percent in 2008.

Herald with Reuters, Télam

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