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SBD Global/June 21, 2013/International Football
FIFA President Says Brazil Will Benefit From World Cup As Protests Continue
Published June 21, 2013
PARTY'S OVER: The AP reported beyond complaints about transit fares, protesters "haven't produced any concrete demands," mainly venting their anger at not just the government of President Rousseff, but "with the entire governing system." A common chant at the rallies has been "No parties!'' Twenty-two-year-old deomstrator Yasmine Gomes, who squeezed into the plaza in central São Paulo where Tuesday night's protest began, said, "What I hope comes from these protests is that the governing class comes to understand that we're the ones in charge, not them, and the politicians must learn to respect us'' (AP, 6/20).
PELÈ'S PLEA: In London, Joe Leahy reported Pelé "shocked" Brazilians by urging them to “forget” the protests and concentrate on cheering for the national team. Appearing on a local TV station, Pelé said, "Let’s forget all of this mayhem that’s happening in Brazil, all of these protests, and let’s remember that the national team is our country, our blood." The remarks "have appalled many Brazilians" and "also threw a spotlight on the increasing politicisation of football in a country in which the sport is a national obsession" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/20). REUTERS' Todd Benson reported while "revered by football fans the world over," Pelé's image "has been tarnished at home by a string of perceived clumsy comments over the years," once prompting former Brazilian striker Romario to famously comment that "Pelé when silent is a poet." Social media users "were less than complimentary about his latest comments, many saying the Brazil great's wealth meant he knew little of how ordinary Brazilians lived." One Brazilian posted on her Facebook page, "Now Pele takes it upon himself to record a video telling the population to forget this commotion and back the squad. The national squad, FIFA, the stadiums costing millions, go to hell." Another wrote, "Go to the hospitals, take a bus with no security, then I want to see if you keep saying stupid things" (REUTERS, 6/20).
NEYMAR'S SUPPORT: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported Brazil forward Neymar "has voiced his support" for the protesters. Neymar wrote on Facebook, "I'm Brazilian and I love my country. I have a family and friends who live in Brazil. For that reason, I want a Brazil which is more just, safer, healthier and more honest. The only way I can represent and defend Brazil is on the pitch, playing football. From now on, I will enter the field inspired by this movement" (REUTERS, 6/20). The AFP reported teammate David Luiz "also spoke out in support of the mass protests." Luiz: "I'm in favor of demonstrations without violence. Citizens have a right to express their opinions and the fact they're not happy. It's a way of achieving their demands and improving the situation in the country." Teammate Dani Alves said, "Order and Progress without violence for a better Brazil, a peaceful Brazil, an educated, healthy, honest and happy Brazil" (AFP, 6/20).