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Brazil is saying what we could not: we don't want these costly extravaganzas

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian
Sat, 22 Jun 2013 09:31 CDT

On Tuesday evening a loud noise engulfed Parliament Square: a demonstration of flag-waving Brazilians. I asked one of them what he was protesting. It was, he said, the waste of money on the Olympics. I told him he was in the right city but the wrong year.

Here we go again. Brazil has been bamboozled into blowing $13bn on next year's football World Cup, and then on a similar sum to be later extorted by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2016 Games. Brazil's leftwing leader, Dilma Rousseff, was bequeathed the games by her populist predecessor, Lula da Silva. She has desperately tried to side with the protesters, but she is trapped by the oligarchs of Fifa and the IOC.

Brazil's citizens are being hit with higher bus fares and massive claims on health and welfare budgets. Up to half a million people may take to the streets this weekend to complain of "first world stadiums, third world schools". What is impressive about the demonstrators is that they appear not to be against sport as such, but against the extravagance of their staging. They are talking the language of priorities.

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