Demonstrators protest while holding crosses bearing the names of construction workers who died while building World Cup stadiums.
Cities across Brazil were wracked by protests again on Friday as citizens try to bring attention to the injustices they feel surround World Cup construction.
At least 18 cities have experienced waves of strikes and crime over the past week as riots continue ahead of the World Cup, which is set to begin on June 12. Police have gone on strike in many cities over the past week — leading to a string of murders in one — as have the military, bus drivers, museum workers, teachers and even geologists. They are protesting a variety of things — from the money spent on stadium construction while there is an acute need for schools and low-income housing, to the dangers inherent in the nation's transportation infrastructure.
Protesters numbered in the low thousands, according to The Guardian, much smaller than similar protests last year that swelled to tens of thousands of people, but enough to concern the Brazilian government as it prepares for the attention of the world as well as a massive influx of players and fans in a month's time.
Government officials have reportedly said different groups of protesters are simply using the proximity to the World Cup to elevate the importance of their demands in the eyes of the world, and protesters don't disagree. Bus drivers and teachers have gone on strike because they want better pay, for example, which doesn't directly relate to World Cup construction, but speaks to the economic disparity in Brazil between a small section of elites and the much larger working class.
But protests haven't only had vague connections to the World Cup. Around 2,000 rioters in Belo Horizonte took to the streets to bring attention to construction worker deaths in the lead up to the games. So far, eight workers have died helping to build stadiums for the cup, and the stadium hosting the opening game likely still won't be finished in time.
Constructors say roof of stadium hosting World Cup opener June 12 will not be fully finished in time for tournament.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 16, 2014
The police not on strike have resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets to keep rioters at bay, according to The Guardian, but demonstrations continue to swell up in cities that will host World Cup games.
While many are airing long-held grievances, others are angry that the huge sporting event hasn't brought more prosperity for the average Brazilian.
"The World Cup has done nothing to help us," a woman named Diana who has been looking for subsidized housing told CNN. "So we decided to use it as a platform to make our voices heard."
And some protesters don't think those voices are getting quieter anytime soon.
“When the World Cup was held in other countries, Brazilians traditionally painted the street in green and yellow," Tomas Ramos, who is a part of the 'Occupy the Cup' movement, told The Guardian. "But this is not happening any more. Now we want people to paint the street critically. So far the protests have not been very big but we expect them to get huge.”