Recent protests in Rio have focused their ire on and increase of bus and subway fares, and on the billions spent by the government to host the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. But the IOC said Thursday that while they believe the Games will be a “powerful catalyst” for improving the host nation, they’re “fully supportive of peaceful protest.”
“The Olympic Games in 2016 will bring significant benefits to the whole population of Rio,” the IOC said in a statement Thursday. Improving the city in terms of transport, infrastructure, and social housing, as well as bringing a considerable sporting legacy for Brazil… [IOC leaders] remain confident in the ability of the Games as a powerful catalyst for improving the world through sport.”
The protests were actually successful in convincing Rio officials on to reverse their decision to increase the fares, much to the officials’ chagrin. And the protests have also served to highlight some of the challenges that come to any Olympics host city, like those listed by the IOC in their statement. Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad told the AP that he and his colleagues will now have to look for new avenues of funding as they spend more than $12 billion on projects to improve the city’s infrastructure.