Olympic Games Rio 2016 Open To Protests As Brazilians Clash With Police

Anya Wassenberg

No matter what the medal count or who takes the podium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, many Brazilians feel they've already lost as thousands have taken to the streets to protest. Police broke up a demonstration Friday on the eve of the opening ceremonies as Brazil's activists continue their year-long fight against corruption and economic instability.

According to Forbes, it was Temer himself who asked for the change in ceremony protocol. Shouts of "Fora, Temer!" or "Out, Temer!" have been a regular feature on Rio's streets. Brazil is in the middle of an economic and political crisis. Former President Dilma Rousseff was ousted from office with a possible impeachment looming in the future amid charges of fiscal wrongdoing. Since becoming interim president, Temer has become the focal point of Brazilians' anger.

Along with political uncertainty, protesters question the huge costs associated with hosting the Olympic Games as Brazil grapples with a massive economic recession, along with public health and safety issues. Police responded with tear gas and pepper spray as the crowd – which included children – burned a flag in Alfonso Pena Square. There were unconfirmed reports of injured protesters and flash grenades. After the clash with police, the protesters dispersed.

While their presence has been notable in terms of breaking up demonstrators, the police themselves have staged protests. As reported in the Independent, at the end of June, Brazil's police forces greeted travelers arriving at the airport with a sign that read "Welcome to Hell." They were protesting unpaid wages and run-down working conditions that include no paper for printers, stations that aren't cleaned, and police cars with no gas in them.

As noted in a CNBC report, today's turmoil comes in contrast to the stable, fast growing economic conditions and seemingly bright future that Brazilians were expecting when the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio back in 2010.

According to the BBC, more than a million tickets are still left to be sold and Rio organizers don't expect that Friday's protests will be the last at these 2016 Olympic Games.

[Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]

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