If you look behind me, you see Maracanã Stadium. That is arguably the most famous soccer stadium on the planet. And last night it was hosting its first World Cup game in 64 years. And in protest of everything that FIFA and the World Cup are bringing to Brazil, a demonstration of about 500 people marched down the street to my left on Maracanã Avenue. The goal was to get as close to the exclusion zone around the stadium, a several-block radius that prevents people without tickets from even walking the streets of Brazil.
Now, I ran ahead with my cameraman, Zach Zill, about two blocks ahead to be able to capture what would happen when the protesters met with police. And about a block and a half in front of the protesters, I saw a series of riot police come out of these wagons, and they were dressed in full regalia—gas mask, shields, all the rest of it. And they started beating their shields in rhythmic fashion. About 200 tourists were sitting at an outdoor cafe, and they started to chant for the police, a soccer chant. They started to say, "Oé, oé, oé, policía." And then the police fired tear gas about a block and a half towards the protesters, yet they got their trajectory wrong, and the tear gas landed just about a hundred yards in front of them, and then a headwind blew the tear gas onto the tourists, sending 200 tourists scattering, who were cheering for the police just moments ago, scattering in utter panic. The tear gas blew on me, as well.
And at that point, the police got their trajectory correctly. They fired, by my count, two more canisters of tear gas, concussion grenades, as well, which then served to disperse the 500-person protest and later was the incident that the AP reported of an officer actually firing live ammunition. That I did not see, but frankly, I wasn’t seeing a great deal at that point anyway.
Read/watch the rest here. Sixty-one percent of Brazilians believe the World Cup is "bad for Brazil," according to a Pew survey this month.