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Protests Cast Shadow Over Confed Cup

Thousands of protestors across Brazil are using the Fifa Confederations Cup to highlight their unhappiness with the South American nation.

The demonstrations have mostly been peaceful, but  occasionally things have taken a more aggressive turn, with protestors vandalising shops, subway stations and buses.

The mainly working class demonstrators feel aggrieved that in the context of Brazil's sluggish economy, high inflation and increasing violent crime, the billions the country has lavished on hosting the Confed Cup, next year’s World Cup and the Olympics in 2016 could have been better spent.

After protestors clashed with police on the opening weekend of the Confed Cup outside stadia in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro, an activist explained the meaning of their unrest.

"We shouldn't be spending public money on stadiums," 32-year-old travel agent Camila told Reuters.

"We don't want the Cup. We want education, hospitals, a better life for our children."

Political corruption and the inadequate and overcrowded public transportation infrastructure are other grievances raised by the protestors.

The demonstrations have made global news, casting a pall over the Confed Cup.

Brazil’s readiness to host the competition had already been called into question, with doubts over the nation’s ability to meet its infrastructural requirements ahead of next year’s larger football event.

And while the on-field action has so far gone according to script, the simmering atmosphere surrounding the stadia, and infusing vast discontented tracts of Brazilian society, threatens to overshadow the Confederations Cup.

Football is the people’s game, the beautiful game, and should therefore be a game of peace.

But football does not happen in a vacuum, despite what its well-paid stars and those fans who can afford up $3000 for a match-day can ticket like to think.

And the spectre of tear gas spraying and baton wielding police on horseback, outside Brazil’s Confed Cup stadia, serves as harsh reminder of the economic reality top level football tends to glibly ignore.

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