Reinstate the 42: SF protest in solidarity with Brazilian transit workers

Pub date July 2, 2014
WriterIsabel Moniz
SectionPolitics Blog

Hey there, lovers and haters of the World Cup, if you missed out on the protest of Google and FIFA at Pride, there’s still time on the clock to score that goal: there will be another protest tomorrow [Thu/3] to support Brazilian transit workers and their quest for higher wages.

In solidarity with Brazilian protestors, a group of queer anarchists blocked the joint Google/FIFA float in the SF Pride Parade on Sunday. The group saw the float protest as an opportunity to draw together two issues linking San Francisco and Brazil: gentrification in the Bay Area and the displacement of Brazilians in order to make this year’s World Cup possible.

As the protestors said, “We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to connect issues of gentrification and evictions in the Bay Area with the violent displacement of Brazilians who live in the Favelas. The Google/FIFA float was a perfect target for direct action to raise awareness about these issues!”

According to Al Jazeera and Solidar Suisse, more than 150,000 people were evicted from their homes to create the World Cup arenas, including parking lots. Following the Brazilian government’s pacification initiative, Brazilian police occupied multiple favelas, or slums, housing around 1.5 million people total, near the airport and roads leading to the World Cup stadiums in order to make the communities more presentable. Besides minimizing gang activity temporarily, there are no programs implemented to help favela residents in the long run.

Brazilian transit workers also felt cheated by World Cup preparations. Despite Brazil’s underfunded transit system and low wages for workers, Brazil’s government poured $11.5 billion into World Cup preparations. Protestors with the Subway Workers Union of Sao Paulo were beaten and attacked with tear gas by police during a five-day strike for higher wages.

Brazilian Justice Ministry declared the strike illegal and implemented a $250,000 per day fee, and allowed the Brazilian government to fire employees that continue to strike. The workers suspended the strike before the Cup, but the 42 transit workers fired during the strike have not been reinstated.

The SF protest joins the Subway Workers Union in asking for the 42 fired workers to be reinstated. You can root for that goal Thu/3 outside the Brazilian Consulate, 300 Montgomery, SF. 4-5pm.