More than 2,000 protesters took to the streets of Brazil’s largest city of Sao Paulo on Saturday to rally against the high cost of the World Cup, marking this year’s first major protest against the tournament.
Demonstrators protested against the amount of money being spent on the new stadium, which they say should be used to invest in public services including transportation, healthcare, and education.
The protest was mostly peaceful, ending around sunset on Saturday. Police did report some vandalism, such as broken bank windows, a smashed police car, and a Volkswagen Beetle set on fire, Reuters reported.
Although around 20,000 people confirmed their participation on Facebook in advance, approximately 2,500 protesters attended the rally.
Earlier in June, Brazil was hit with major protests against the Confederation Cup, a rehearsal tournament before the World Cup. More than one million people hit the streets to speak out against corruption and improvised public services.
Many are observing Brazil’s reaction to the World Cup, with some worrying that the protests will hurt the tournament’s image and affect Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity ahead of October elections.
The World Cup is set to kick off in Sao Paolo on June 12, 2014.