100,000 expected at protest before Brazil match
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Demanding better public services and angered by World Cup costs, about 100,000 people are expected at a protest today before Brazil plays Uruguay in the Confederations Cup semifinals.
Local officials have declared a holiday in Belo Horizonte and authorities say they are expecting confrontations with the demonstrators.
Belo Horizonte has had some of the most violent clashes between police and protesters since the country was swept by a wave of demonstrations calling for better education, transport and health services.
There were no major protests in the city on Tuesday, but groups closed three main roads demanding public officials pay more attention to them.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will be in Belo Horizonte today. Football’s governing body said security has been increased because of the protests, but it wasn’t immediately known if any changes were expected in Belo Horizonte because of Blatter’s presence.
“I’m in favor of the protests,” Brazil striker Fred said Tuesday. “The people deserve better. But it has to be done without violence and without vandalism. Hopefully the demonstrations will be peaceful tomorrow, without confrontations with the police.”
Protesters have filled cities across the country to air a wide spectrum of grievances, including the high cost of hosting next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
There have been many violent protests before Confederations Cup matches, including in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza.
On Saturday, police estimated about 60,000 demonstrators gathered in a central square in Belo Horizonte before heading toward the Mineirao Stadium ahead of the match between Japan and Mexico.
The government is projecting $13.3 billion will be spent on stadiums, airport renovations and other projects for the World Cup, with an estimated $3.5 billion on the 12 venues.
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