Salvador’s ‘Sleeping Giant’ awakens as city erupts in violence during FIFA confederation cup
CROWD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Come, come to the street so the fight grows.
JIHAN HAFIZ: Salvador was rocked with demonstrations and violent clashes this weekend as the final FIFA Confederations Cup played Italy and Brazil in Salvador’s new stadium.
CROWD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I want, I want I, want a free pass, yes!
HAFIZ: Forty-eight hours before the game, military and riot police squads were deployed throughout the city as FIFA officials warned of canceling the game.
FAVO, ITALY SOCCER FAN: No, we didn’t see police. We didn’t see any police right now.
HAFIZ: Do you think they’ll cancel the game? They’re talking about–.
FAVO: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Game will go on.
HAFIZ: The planned march to cut off a major highway heading toward the stadium was announced in the newspapers and on social media networking sites. Many in the neighborhood of Rio Vermelho sympathize with the marchers.
PAOLO, STORE OWNER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The governor, is watching, but he doesn’t feel it in the skin like the people do. The people have to protest to stop with the corruption, stop with the people dying in the hospitals, enough with the ineffective transportation, enough with everything they do. They steal and nothing happens to them.
SOLANGE, STORE OWNER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Food, health, education, recreation. It’s a complaint of many years of oppression, repression, and violence. It’s all one cause.
NENE, UNEMPLOYED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): That money is needed here. People here need that money. They’re looking for an egg to eat but they can’t find it.
HAFIZ: As the march set off from the city center towards the outskirts, thousands roared past highrise buildings and the vast slums along the way, calling to onlookers to join in.
CROWD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Come, come to the streets so the fight grows.
CROWD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The World Cup, the World Cup. We want investment in education and health.
BRUNA, BLACK MILITANT (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We went through a lot of historical processes of oppression, which led to scaring a lot people out of joining movements to the extent that “the sleeping giant” was eternally in his cradle. But now we reach the end of the anthem, “you will see your sons do not run from a fight”.
CROWD (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Salvador will be united!
HAFIZ: Brazil’s northern state of Bahia voted overwhelmingly for the current president Dilma Rousseff in 2010, a former leftist guerrilla who once fought Brazil’s military dictatorship. Despite addressing Brazilians in a televised broadcast to keep calm, promising health care, education reforms, marchers said her words would not take them off the streets.
PROTESTER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): President Dilma said in her speech she would hire gringo doctors. And we don’t want that! We want our doctors from Brazil to receive better treatment, work in better conditions, and improve our health care system
HAFIZ: After six hours of marching, the peaceful protest is cut off by a police line. Suddenly, clashes erupt.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Don’t throw a bomb in the middle. It’s only going to make them revolt more!
HAFIZ: Many pleaded the police to cease fire.
Arrests were made. Protesters tried to reason with the police to release the detainees.
So as the march, as it made its way toward the shopping center Iguatemi, which cuts off the main highway heading in toward the stadium, there weren’t that many enforcements, military and police enforcements. And I don’t know where–they just started shooting tear gas, rubber bullets. And people are taking refuge inside this mall.
PROTESTER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We are over here, on the other side. Look over here!
PROTESTER: A symbol of what Brazilian society is like. You have these massive, beautiful buildings, high-class, being heavily protected by an armed apparatus of the state. So if you turn around and look–.
PROTESTER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): “is this your democracy, Brazil? This the free state and the free will of the dictatorship! This is bullshit! This is dictatorship!
HAFIZ: We’re outside one of the big malls in Salvador. And as you can see, it’s completely militarized zone now, military police and riot police. And a number of protesters who took cover inside the mall’s garage–and they’re just shooting them head-on. The air has been completely gassed out.
This is what people here in Salvador are protesting against. They’re not just seeing police violence here, but on an average day in Salvador there’s police violence. There’s violent raids. They’ve been implicated in shootings in the past six months. So this is one of the aspects of the Free Pass movement.
So now the cops are raiding the garage area where the protesters [incompr.] and they’re using live ammunition, and there are different police forces coming out in different angles.
The protesters are taking cover up there. This is the garage of the Iguatemi Mall. And there are different police. But you can hear the helicopters up there. There are different police battalion roaming. You can see the riot cops are coming out right now.
PROTESTER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Come to the streets! We have a dictatorship! Don’t stay at home rooting for the team to make a goal. Come to the streets. Come out Brazilians, come out Bahianos. We’re here in Iguatemi Mall. Down with the dictatorship! And they are shooting at us for what? My sign says, “No to Corruption”.
HAFIZ: When they started shooting at the protesters, a lot of people fled inside the mall, Iguatemi Mall. And, I mean, as you can see, these are all high-end stores selling very expensive Western products that a majority of the people in Salvador can’t afford. So there’s a lot of irony, because as people were being gassed outside, there were a number of people inside this mall who can afford these things watching the Confederations Cup between Brazil and Italy.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): They’re doing stuff with the money, okay, but it’s generating jobs, generating money. But even so, I believe it’s an event [the World Cup] all Brazilians want. We celebrated when they decided they would have it here. It’s generating jobs, it’s generating tourism from people like me from another state. I’m going to consume here. I don’t believe my taxi driver was complaining about bringing me here.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Salvador looks like a city at war, police and security everywhere.
HAFIZ: Jihan Hafiz for The Real News, Salvador, Brazil.
Seth Hague contributed to this report.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.