Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians poured into the streets of at least 25 cities across the country Monday, blanketing the streets of major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and climbing to the roof of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, the nation’s capital. The protests, sparked last week by a smaller demonstration against fare hikes on public buses, are taking place around the Confederations Cup, the soccer tournament that began Saturday as a tune-up for Brazil’s 2014 hosting of the World Cup.
The World Cup has become a symbol of corruption and overspending in the country. Brazil, originally slated to spend less than $1 billion in private funding on soccer stadiums, has already spent more than $3 billion, most of which has come from public funds. Meanwhile, schools and hospitals are overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded, infrastructure is crumbling, and income inequality is rising as Brazil’s minimum wage remains low. The money spent on the World Cup, the protesters say, would be better spent on efforts to help ordinary Brazilians.
Though there were small pockets of violence during demonstrations in some cities, the vast majority of the protests remained peaceful, according to local news reports. Here are pictures from Monday’s protests: