Ten days before World Cup, a rush to finish stadiums
With 10 days until the World Cup begins, Brazil was rushing Monday to finish installing seats in stadiums and to deal with threats ranging from violent protests to dengue fever.
The count-down to kick off has been marred by protests – from striking drivers who abandoned their buses mid-route to indigenous leaders in bright-feathered headdresses shooting arrows at police.
Anger over the more than $11 billion being spent on the event has raised fears of a return to the violence seen last year during the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal.
Then, clashes erupted as one million people flooded the streets calling for more money for social programs and less for stadiums. But recent protests have been smaller, with journalists and street vendors sometimes outnumbering the crowds of anti-government demonstrators chanting: “There won’t be a World Cup!”
Public support slides
An Ibope Inteligencia opinion poll published Monday showed public support for the event had slid from 58 percent in February to 51 percent in May, with 42 percent saying they oppose the Cup.
But 71 percent hoped the competition would be a success compared with 11 percent who prefer to see it fail.
In a country that takes pride in its five World Cup titles, the tournament is starting to unleash growing excitement, with media providing exhaustive coverage of the Brazilian team’s training camp.