A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014.
A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014. Rahel Patrasso—Xinhua/Sipa USA

Amid the World Cup, a Violent Reminder of Brazil's Discontent

Jun 20, 2014

Antigovernment riots, ostensibly calling for free public transit in Brazil, broke out in São Paulo on Thursday night, turning increasingly violent while the World Cup match between England and Uruguay ended on the other side of town.

More than a thousand people had gathered initially to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a successful protest against a transit-fare hike, Reuters reports. However, such transport protests are typically a flash point for deep-seated frustrations over poverty and government spending.

Though things were at first peaceful — as most of the recent demonstrations across Brazil over the course of the World Cup have been — the protest quickly escalated when groups of masked men began to set fires in the street and shatter bank windows.

It was one of the largest Brazilian protests during the World Cup soccer tournament thus far, and the first to become overtly violent, although a police spokesperson reported no injuries to either protesters or foreign soccer fans.

Most of the demonstrations in the past few weeks have sought to confront a government that protesters say pays insufficient attention to both public resources and its employees.

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