RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A small group of protesters gathered outside Rio's famous Maracana stadium — the site of next year's World Cup final — to criticize the cost of staging the event and accuse politicians and FIFA of profiting at the expense of Brazilian taxpayers.
The protest, termed the "World Cup Anti-Draw" took place Friday as the actual draw was held 1,400 kilometers (850 miles) north in the coastal resort of Costa do Sauipe.
The billions being spent to stage the World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics have triggered sporadic protests across Brazil.
The grievances have united groups opposing everything from high taxes and soaring costs, to forced relocations of the poor living in favelas (slums) to make way for World Cup- and Olympic-related projects.
Friday's gathering was light-hearted. Protesters held a fake draw ceremony, chanted slogans as they pulled plastic balls from a bowl, and ridiculed local politicians and FIFA.
"The people are the big losers," said Demian Castro, a spokesman for an activist group that organized the event. "All of us are living in cities that are getting more expensive. The World Cup has driven up the cost of living."