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The World Cup and the art of protest

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Brazilian street artist Paolo Ito works on his latest protest mural. (Source: CNN) Brazilian street artist Paolo Ito works on his latest protest mural. (Source: CNN)
The favela of Rocinha is one of the poorest slums in Brazil. And Ito is now painting his protests here. (Source: CNN) The favela of Rocinha is one of the poorest slums in Brazil. And Ito is now painting his protests here. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) – Protests in other cities have eased since last week's opening matches. But anger over Brazil's social hardships is not going away.

But some protesters are getting artistic to show their message to the world.

Through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, there is a visible and silent current of anger. Here, pictures enrage and inspire and words mean more than just the writing on the wall. It's where art imitates life.

Many of the murals focus on patriotic support for the national team. One shows the year that Brazil won its fifth World Cup back in 2002. But many others have sprung up across the county and many of them have a political and social message.

Renowned Brazilian street painter Paulo Ito has been spraying his protests, highlighting the country's social ills and now he's found a new and unexplored canvas in the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro, one of the poorest slums in Brazil.

One mural depicts a gentleman in a suit and a lady in a dress and then we have people hiding and being hidden. Who are they?

"The poor population," street artist Paulo Ito said. "When you try to hide something and show the foreigners another reality than the real situation."

Although metaphorical, the message is simple. Inequality is rife in Brazil, with more than 16 million people living in extreme poverty.

The government argues that the money spent in infrastructure and jobs created through the country for the World Cup will benefit the Brazilian population over the long-term.

"And do you think that is what your government is doing right now with the World Cup?" CNN reporter Isa Soares said.

"Yes in the sense that the poor were taken to another place because of construction," Ito said.

So in silence and with a spray can and brush in hand, he's defining Brazil's image as he sees it, protesting with every brush stroke.

"It's not specifically about the cost of the world cup but about priorities and what is really important in country," Ito said.

It's a reality that many Brazilians like Paulo Ito find hard to accept, one that is far easier to ignore. All you have to do is get by and just smile.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.