São Paulo--Following Brazil’s humiliating 1-7 loss against Germany in Fortaleza, the South American country was peppered with sporadic acts of vandalism and robbery.
Buses burned in peripheral neighborhoods of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. One shop was looted, but the perpetrators were apprehended. Pickpocketing occurred at FIFA FanFests from São Paulo to Rio. Purse and jewelry-snatching on Copacabana beach triggered a small stampede, according to a video released by Associated Press.
Starting about an hour before the detentions, an unconnected series of bus burnings began in various suburbs of São Paulo. At least five separate incidents of arson were reported to have occurred between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time, according to Globo. Nineteen buses were destroyed and one more heavily damaged in a single arson attack, according to Folha, which added that buses were also burned in the city of Curitiba, in the neighboring state of Paraná.
Some acts of aggression were more symbolic. After the loss, disgruntled fans burned a Brazilian flag in São Paulo’s Vila Madalena neighborhood, according to a photo released by Veja. The area is normally visited by celebrating revelers, and the mood remains upbeat even among rival fans. However, last night military police decided to break up the crowds early due to fights that broke out between Argentine and Brazilian fans, according to Folhia.
On Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo’s financial district, around 50 riot police, also known as "shock troops," waited in armored transport vehicle. Fifteen more troops patrolled on horseback. After a protest three weeks ago that ended in massive property destruction, São Paulo’s military police have tried to overwhelm protesters with preemptive police presence, often outnumbering protesters two or three to one.
Two blocks away, a group of 15-20 anti-cup protesters welcomed the end of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup run.
“I haven’t watched a single game during the World Cup,” said Luiz Bantas, who said that he felt more motivated to protest than to party. On Thursday, he plans to join a traditional quadrilha dance, something he says was banned from stadiums by FIFA. Like many small protests in the past two weeks, it will focus on freeing protesters who’ve been arrested during the World Cup.
At about 9 p.m., the small group began to attract the attention of the police. Some protesters donned black masks typical of the “black bloc” tactic of protest-vandalism. One man stood on a trashcan.
“Patriots are idiots,” the protesters chanted in a circle, turning occasionally to shout their lyrics at traffic and passersby. “The circus is over.”
They arranged beer cans on the ground in the shape of “7 x 1,” the final score of the Germany/Brazil game. Military police quickly intervened, despite any apparent threat to public order. Policeman lined up the young chanters against a wall, systematically patted them down and recorded their identification, before asking them to disperse, ending their celebration of Brazil's defeat.