Sao Paulo police deploys unarmed jiu-jitsu squad for protests.
The Football World Cup which was held in Brazil in 2014 was a huge cause for unrest by Brazilians as they wanted to see that money spent instead on more urgent issues.
Bank windows were smashed and fires started in Sao Paolo in a rally against World Cup expenditure, which has exceeded $11 billion. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades, making hundreds of arrests.
Almost a thousand people peacefully took to the streets on Saturday in the south-eastern city to express their discontent over the high government expenditure on the World Cup, which Brazil is going to host in four months.
“There will be no Cup!” and “Cup for the rich, scraps for the poor!” protesters chanted according to AFP.
Sao Paulo police dealt with the situation by deploying a special unit to deal with protesters: unarmed police offers trained in Jiu-Jitsu.
This special police unit is called the “Tropa do Braço” ( Troop of Arms). They consist of 140 officers who have trained for a minimum amount of 3 months. Some officers are black belts while some are still beginners.
The Brazilian police took inspiration from the French police who dealt with violent protests in Paris in 2005, in the same way.
“We want to use less aggressive resources,” Emerson Massera, a military police captain, told Ultimo Segundo. “We hope that physical force alone contains the most agitated protesters.”
This is not the only police or military unit in Brazil that trains BJJ. Brazil’s famous BOPE has many BJJ black belts in their ranks.
World Cup spending is taking place in the context of transport fare hikes.
Violent protests followed the announcement about fare increases, with members of the Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) being deployed to handle the demonstrators, using tear gas, and resulting in at least 20 arrests.
While protests have been on a smaller-scale than those against the 2013 Confederations cup, the 2014 demonstrations have contained pockets of protesters deemed more ‘radical’, giving rise to fears that the police may not be able to contain violence during the event itself
The unarmed Tropa do Braço arrested 262 people. According to the military police, the operation was a success.
“There was less damage and fewer police and civilians injured,” Colonel Celso Luis told reporters.