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Clashes erupt outside Brazil football venue

Protesters clash with police minutes before Brazil-Spain final of Confederations Cup got underway.

Last Modified: 30 Jun 2013 23:24
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More than 11,000 police and troops have been mobilised to guarantee security for the final [AFP]

Protesters have clashed with police near Rio's Maracana stadium, minutes before the start of the Brazil-Spain final of the Confederations Cup, AFP reported.

Al Jazeera's Adam Raney reporting from Rio de Janeiro, after the match had begun, said that clashes had died down. 

Earlier, some 5,000 people sang and danced to samba music as they marched towards the stadium, before being blocked by a police security cordon on Sunday.

The marchers responded to calls on social media to turn out to back the national squad but also to protest the country's inadequate public services - a key gripe at the core of two weeks of demonstrations that have rocked the South American giant.

More than 11,000 police and troops were mobilised to ensure security for 78,000 fans at the Maracana arena as the curtain falls on a tournament hit by the unprecedented social unrest, with more than 1.5 million Brazilians taking to the streets nationwide over the past two weeks.

Our correspondent said the protests were likely to continue, though it was unclear what the protesters would direct their energy at with the football tournament now being wrapped up.

Public anger

"We are against the privatisation of the stadium and forced housing displacement, linked to the 2014 World Cup and the (2016 Rio summer) Olympics," said Renato Cosentino, a spokesman for one of the groups sponsoring Saturday's protest.

Hundreds of demonstrators also rallied in the Tijuca district, about one mile from Maracana, dancing and chanting: "FIFA, pay my (bus) fare" or "Maracana is ours."

Police invited the country's Bar Association as well as federal and state prosecutors to monitor their security deployment following charges of police brutality during earlier protests.

A small demonstration was also held in the northeastern city of Salvador outside the stadium where Italy took third place in the Confederations Cup on Sunday after beating Uruguay 3-2 on penalties.

Protesters complain the government has found billions of dollars to build brand new stadiums for 12 World Cup host stadiums while transport, education and health remain underfunded.

President Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity has plunged since the start of the unrest, will not attend the Spain-Brazil final.

Two weeks ago, she and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were booed by demonstrators at the opening game of the tournament in Brasilia.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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