- (Photo: Reuters/Joedson Alves)
Close to 3,000 families camped out near the World Cup stadium in Sao Paulo a day before the soccer tournament in Brazil begins, trying to raise global attention for what they say is a lack of support they have received from the government.
"I always liked the World Cup. I was Brazilian through and through," said one woman at the encampment, CNN reported. "But this Cup and the stadium are making people angry."
The World Cup, which begins June 12 and ends July 13, will bring together 32 nations to compete for the trophy. The organization has been plagued by protests from activists who have said that the country spent a total of $11 billion for the competition, while many social services have been neglected.
"We paid 700 reais ($314) on rent, then food and clothes, it was too much," explained Jucilene de Oliveira, who is living inside a tent with her husband and four daughters, noting that the rent in Sao Paulo's East Zone nearly doubled as the stadium was being built.
"We don't want anything for free, but we need something we can pay," she added. "If we can pay 700 reais a month for rent, we could pay that in installments for a housing unit."
The Roman Catholic Church in Brazil has also criticized the organization for the World Cup, saying that many public services have been neglected as a result.
Brazil's Bishops Conference distributed brochures in the country's dioceses last week, encouraging government officials to allow Brazilians to publicly protest the FIFA World Cup
"The Church wants to contribute to the public debate and express its concern with ... the inversion of priorities in the use of public money that should go to health, education, basic sanitation, transportation and security," the red brochure reads, in part. The appearance of the brochure resembles the "red card" given to a soccer player from a referee that indicates he has committed a flagrant foul."
The brochures also reportedly criticized World Cup organizers for evicting hundreds of residents from their homes to make way for stadiums, as well as giving in to "big corporations" instead of listening to the voice of the people.
Several institutions have also raised the alarm about the safety of children and adolescents in Brazil. According toFides News Agency, the institutions said that children have been neglected because the priority was to meet the urgent demands of infrastructure.
Child Protection and Adolescents Center said that when managing investments, "public resources were allocated to the works, according to the agreement with FIFA, rather than allowing these resources to the policies of basic assistance such as housing, health and education."
A coalition of civil society organizations working to eliminate sexual exploitation of children and adolescents reported that 275,638 complaints of violations of the rights of children and adolescents were recorded between May 2003 and March 2011 in the 12 cities that will host games at the World Cup. Of those, 27,664 are related to sexual exploitation.