Teenager 'Smuggles' Protest Banner in Underpants During World Cup Opening Ceremony
Brazil had barred any form of protest message being either carried or shown during the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup. A 13-year-old however chose to violate the rule and displayed a message outside
A Brazilian during a separate protest against the FIFA World Cup.
A Brazilian teenager participating in the World Cup opening ceremony defied a ban on political messages by sneaking a banner into the stadium in his underpants, media reported Monday.
Wera Jeguaka Mirim, a 13-year-old boy from Brazil's Guarani tribe, removed the red banner from his underwear and brandished his message -- "Demarcate our lands now" -- to the crowd, but was not shown in the TV broadcast of the event, news website Uol said.
He was one of three children -- white, black and Indian -- chosen to release a flock of doves as a symbol of peace and cross-cultural unity at Thursday's ceremony in Sao Paulo.
He made his protest in the direction of President Dilma Rousseff's VIP box just after finishing his official part.
"I wasn't allowed to go in with the banner but I wanted to, my people wanted me to and needed me to. So I put it in my underwear and only took it out when I was in the middle of the pitch, and held it up for the whole world to see," he said.
"I wanted President Dilma to read it and understand."
The process of demarcating indigenous land in Brazil is currently stalled.
Indigenous leaders accuse Rousseff's government of failing to protect their land and pursuing policies that favor large-scale farming.
The issue has sparked a series of protests in recent weeks, including one in Brasilia on May 27 in which indigenous chiefs in colorful traditional dress fired arrows at police, hitting one in the leg before they were dispersed with tear gas.
Indigenous people make up 0.3 percent of the country's population of 200 million.
FIFA does not allow political messages at World Cup matches and had ordered opening ceremony participants to refrain from making any.