July 23, 2014
Sports minister sees no mass movement to halt Brazil World Cup
Mass protests against inequality are unlikely to disrupt the World Cup in Brazil, the country's sports minister Aldo Rebelo said today.
Crime rather than terrorism posed a greater threat to soccer fans heading to Brazil for the June-July tournament, the minister added at a speech in London.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets during the Confederations Cup last year to protest against spending on the World Cup and insufficient investment in public services such as transport, health and education.
There are concerns that such protests could flare again in large cities during the World Cup but Rebelo said there was no union, church group or social organisation seeking to foment unrest.
"Protesting is a right but destruction and threats to life, this is not protesting, this has to be combatted," he added.
"We all know that Brazil is an unequal country. Football has no responsibility for inequality in Brazil," Rebelo told an audience at London's King College.
Disparate protest groups used social media last year to coordinate their plans. Rebelo said that they could have halted the Confederations Cup - a dry run for the World Cup - had that been their aim.