The true spirit of tatu-bola —comrades’ account from the streets
On the 4th of October, Porto Alegre was the first city in Brazil where the huge inflatable ‘Tatu-Bola’, mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, was pierced by angry protesters that were gathered to manifest their desire for free public spaces.
Previous to the event, Coca-Cola had bought rights to the Glênio Peres square and erected the ‘Tatu-Bola’ in the centre of this square. This didn’t go together with the locals and they made a protest in front of the town hall, where around 1,000 people gathered to support public spaces, which should be free for all and not rented to big corporations. As the night progressed, out of these 1,000 protesters around 300 headed to the Glênio Peres square, which is right next to the town hall, to take down the ‘Tatu-Bola’.
The police oppression during the event was brutal. Many people got injured, and according to information from the injured protesters, the police had ordered the ambulances to wait until getting the wounded from the scene. Taxis drivers were also hesitant on helping the injured claiming, that if the police catch them helping ‘criminals’ they would get in trouble.
Between the night of the 8th and 9th of October another ‘Tatu-Bola’ was taken down in Brasilia, the capital of the country. The action was carried out quietly, and in the morning the inflatable mascot was noted pierced and on the ground.
In São Paulo on the 13th of October the local ‘Tatu-Bola’ was also pierced and deflated to the ground after a demonstration.
All over Brazil, activists are worried about how the authorities are treating the local population before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Poor people are evicted from their homes in favelas, so that stadiums and luxury hotels get built or any other kind of gentrification plan is implemented. The cost for public transportation increases every year and locals cannot afford to pay the costs anymore. Public squares are privatized and local street art performers are not allowed to take action in these places anymore; and the list goes on…