While reporting live on television, Shasta Darlington, bureau chief for CNN in Brazil, and her producer, Barbara Arvanitidis, were hit by tear gas as they covered the World Cup protests in Sao Paulo on Thursday. Even after being injured, Darlington and Arvanitidis continued to cover the story of the protests.
Mere hours before the opening of the soccer tournament, Brazilian protesters encountered the wrath of riot police when they assembled to block a main road leading to Arena Corinthians, the stadium where Brazil will play Croatia for the soccer championship. BBC correspondents described how police charged with batons and riot shields, firing rubber bullets over the heads of protesters, as the demonstrators chanted "there won't be a Cup."
Taking advantage of the global attention focused on Brazil, critics of that government have organized to protest the $11 billion spent on the World Cup instead of hospitals, schools, and low-income housing. Rents in Sao Paulo have risen by double digits in recent years, CNN noted, with residents attributing spikes in their monthly payments to the stadium. In hopes of pressuring the government to provide low-income housing, squatters and more than 3,000 families have planted their plastic tents on an empty piece of land less than 2.5 miles from the World Cup stadium. This squatter settlement is referred to as the “People’s Cup.”
Interest groups, including striking teachers and airport workers in Rio de Janeiro, have also organized to demand wage increases in the past few days. Troubles began as far back as last year, when more than a million people protested across the country, demanding better public services and highlighting corruption and the high cost associated with the sporting event. Last month, demonstrations were staged in 18 cities, with other protests occurring or expected in the 12 host cities for the tournament, The New York Times reported.
Courtesy of YouTube, a CNN video tells the story: