Police kept a group of about 150 demonstrators from approaching Maracana stadium prior to a match Sunday by using tear gas and pepper spray, while officers on horseback blocked their path. The event was similar to an incident several days ago in Sao Paulo, when police used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to stop protesters blocking a road to Corinthians stadium.
The protesters held signs reading "FIFA Go Home," a reference to soccer's organizing body, and are angered over Brazil's use of $11 billion to fund the global soccer tournament instead of addressing domestic needs that include education and unemployment.
There were no reports of injuries or arrests. A military police spokesperson said information on the demonstration was still being collected. A claim that one police officer allegedly fired live ammunition at protesters prompted Pedro Dantas, Rio de Janeiro security secretariat spokesman, to say police would "immediately open an investigation into the incident" if it is proven true.
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