The 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been underway for several days, but beyond the glitz and the cameras at the Maracana soccer stadium, police have been firing tear gas, rubber bullets and noise bombs at protesters.
The protesters are upset that the Brazilian government has spent a reported $11 billion to host the World Cup, while hospitals, public housing and schools are in dire need of funds.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that a police officer fired what appeared to be a live round at protesters about a mile away from the stadium.
Sirius-XM sportswriter Dave Zirin recently spoke with Democracy Now about covering the protest on Sunday and being tear-gassed (video below).
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"Police fired tear gas about a block and a half towards the protesters, yet they got their trajectory wrong and the tear gas landed just about a hundred yards in front of them, and then a headwind blew the tear gas onto the tourists, sending 200 tourists scattering, who were cheering for the police just moments ago, scattering in utter panic," stated Zirin. "The tear gas blew on me, as well."
Zirin also recalled how a slum near the soccer stadium called "Favela do Metro" was home to 700 poor families, but was "knocked to the ground" by the Brazilian government to build a parking lot. The parking lot, however, has not yet been built and the families now have nowhere to go.
"All it is now is a couple of storefronts and lots of rubble, rats, waste," Zirin said. "I mean, it’s an absolute calamity. And you see little pieces of what used to be people’s homes, broken dolls, furniture, all the rest of it."
Back in the U.S., a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, bar owner built a fake favela to celebrate the World Cup, reports The Washington Post.