Maracana stadium scene of clashes between Rio police, protesters

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM
1 of 3

It ought to have been a moment of joy and celebration for Brazil, which defeated Spain for the Confederations Cup, 3-0 at home.

But the demonstrations that have gone on for weeks continued Sunday outside Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, devolving into violence between 5,000 anti-government protesters and riot police.

The two sides clashed first about 30 minutes before kickoff, with police countering Molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks with stun grenades and tear gas.

At least one policeman was injured in the fracas, but the force of 6,000 managed to keep the demonstrators away from the stadium perimeter.

While Sunday's protests were small in comparison to others in recent days, public opinion polls show much of the country sympathizes with them.

President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating has tanked in the past three weeks, dropping to 30 percent from 57 percent earlier this month. More than 80 percent said they supported the protests and 65 percent said the demonstrations had resulted in positive changes.

Rousseff stayed away from the finale of the Cup, perhaps recalling the sour reception she received when she appeared with FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the tournament opening.

The protests began in response to a hike in public transportation fares, but has grown to encompass government corruption, poor education and health care, and the exorbitant costs of hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
American Apparel files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
At least 5 dead in South Carolina's '1,000-year' rain
Gay Vatican priest comes out day before Pope Francis begins synod on family issues
Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz joins race for Speaker of the House
Nobel Prize in medicine awarded to parasitic disease scientists