Friday, June 28, 2013

Sports stadiums focus of protest in Brazil

Here demonstrators on Wednesday marched to the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The 12 stadia built to host the 2013 Confederations Cup (just held), 2014 World Cup & 2016 summer Olympics have increasingly become the focus of continuing massive protests. Placards reading “Health, Education & Reform” are coupled with those reading “There won’t be a Cup” & “FIFA go home.”

Renovations for the games were finished at Mineirao stadium last year (it originally opened in 1965) at an estimated cost of R$ 667 million/US$ 304 million. Builders boasted that the stadium was built with sustainable materials, used solar energy, had energy-efficient lighting, upgraded audio/video & acoustics to comply with FIFA requirements, was green landscaped. They crowed that builders were socially responsible & gave computer classes to construction workers, employed 100 women, & hired prisoners (they didn’t say if they were paid or not).

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff  inaugurated the rebooted stadium in December & a few months ago, Elton John & Paul McCartney had concerts at the 67,000 seat stadium (the second largest in Brazil after Maracana in Rio) to test out the new facilities. Well-heeled patrons complained queues were too long.

It’s a mighty impressive sounding place but if a 20 cent fare increase sends upwards of a million people into orbit it’s unlikely they’ll ever see the inside of the stadium except as ushers & peanut vendors. Social inequity is on the hot seat & bravo to that!

(Photo by Felipe Dana/AP)

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