Football can be a tool for social change, one protester says, but the poor people here cannot even participate in the games. ‘We are not just LGBT. We are also workers, blacks, women and we can not disconnect from the other social movement.’
Photos & text: Keren Manor and Mareike Lauken/Activestills.org
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A few hours before the dramatic game between Brazil and Chile in the World Cup on Saturday, thousand of demonstrators marched past the FIFA Fan Fest on the Copacaban beach of Rio de Janeiro, the second in a series of actions dubbed, “Our cup is on the street.” In addition to protesting the World Cup, the event had another purpose. Saturday was the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, which are credited with launching the modern LGBT rights movement. To commemorate Stonewall, organizers turned the event into an anti-homophobia march in addition to its social agenda.
At first glance, the march appeared to be a fun and colorful gay pride parade but the signs and the slogans told a more complex story, one protesters explained is inseparable from the context of the World Cup and the oppression of gender, sexuality, race and class.
Jobe, an activist from Niteroi, a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro explained:
We are not just LGBT. We are also workers, blacks, women and we can not disconnect from the other social movement. We need to come together and join forces. I don’t want my taxes to be invested in these games but rather in social services like health, education, public transportation and housing rights. We are not against football but the World Cup is good for enterprises that come to Brazil and exploit it.
The government evicted thousands of people from their homes so that the foreigners could have a nice reception. All the changes in the city were made for the foreigners, because they have the money. It is not being done for the good of the people in the street. The minimum salary here is around 720 reals (240 euros or $330). The poor people cannot even participate in this event.
Football, and every other sport, can be use as a tool for social change; we could be here on the street, playing football and enjoying ourselves. Football is also a tool of resistance for those people who don’t have much opportunity in life. FIFA commercialize and privatizes football, therefore promoting inequality.
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