In an attempt to placate the protesters, the Brazilian authorities in Rio and São Paulo have revoked the increase in bus fares that sparked the protests, but the demonstrations continue around the country as people demand better public services and a more even distribution of wealth.
Brazil as a country has seen some major successes over recent years in pulling people out of poverty, and with their economy growing at a rapid rate. Whilst the average Brazilian has become richer, there are a small minority of people that have found great wealth and the country has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor – with the gap widening every year.
The Brazilian authorities have accepted that peaceful protest is a useful way for the general population to show that they are unhappy with their situation, and to force those in positions of power to re-examine the situation. Whilst the Brazilian police previously met the protesters with tear gas and still do in many areas, in some areas they are now sitting with them and joining them as you can see in the video below:
If the people are unhappy with the state of politics in their country, they need to make themselves known – and in a country where football is a major part of life, protests during football matches are a perfect place to demonstrate. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged protesters not to link their grievances to football, but he appears to have completely missed the point that the money spent hosting the ongoing Confederations Cup and more importantly the 2014 World Cup instead of hospitals, education, and social housing is exactly the problem.
The politicians in Brazil have been so focused on showing the world the sheen of the country’s recent prosperity, they have allocated too many resources to focus on international perception than fixing the still numerous problems at home. People are told that the country does not have the funds to build a new hospital, or improve conditions in the poorer schools, but they do have the funds to spend billions improving the stadiums and transport for use by tourists. The recent wave of demonstrations are protests against how their tax money is spent on attracting tourists rather than their daily situation.
Protesting at showcase international football matches, demonstrates to the world that they are more interested in fixing real problems than being perceived as having them already fixed. Seth Blatter is focused on producing a successfully and most importantly profitable World Cup in 2014, seeing the protests as just another obstacle to be overcome, and as a result faces jeers and mocking across social media channels. If Brazilian football hero cannot quell the protests in the name of football, Sepp Blatter getting involved will only worsen the situation.