BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — About 200 people burned tires and blocked the main road in front of the Brasilia stadium that will host the Confederations Cup opener Saturday.
The protest was organized by local groups complaining of excessive costs of the Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.
A black cloud of smoke was seen near the stadium Friday morning as protesters held banners complaining about the local government. Firefighters and police were called to the scene but there was no confrontation with protesters. The road was cleared early in the afternoon.
Protester Edson da Silva said the demonstrators opposed “all the money that was spent by the government” for the World Cup.
Not saying that’s a better way, mind you. Though it is worth noting that there’s no statutory limit on burning tires.
Brazil, if you’re scoring at home, is spending about $3.3 billion on new or refurbished stadiums for the World Cup, three of which are in cities that don’t even have major soccer clubs. The 71,000-seat Brasilia stadium has now held 57 matches and drawn fewer than 50,000 fans in total. Brazil is currently run by a leftist government that has been making good strides in reducing poverty, even establishing a stronger system of welfare payments — hey, another way it’s different from the U.S. — but this just goes to show that government subsidies to major sports organizations aren’t a left or a right thing, they’re a systemic “resist the power of the global sports-industrial complex at your peril” thing.