The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 26, 2013

100,000 expected to protest before Brazil match

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — About 100,000 people are expected to join a protest Wednesday to demand better public services and to complain about the cost of the World Cup before Brazil plays Uruguay in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup.

Local officials have declared a holiday in Belo Horizonte and authorities said they are expecting confrontations with the demonstrators.

Belo Horizonte has seen 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 that public officials pay more attention to them.

Local media reported that demonstrations were scheduled for Wednesday outside the hotel where Brazil’s national team is staying. Authorities said that depending on the size of the protests, it could be difficult for the teams and fans to make it to the match in the afternoon.

“It’s impossible for the police to act against thousands of people trying to block traffic,” officer Marcio Martins Sant’ana told ESPN Brasil.

FIFA said that security has been increased in general because of the protests, but no changes are expected in Belo Horizonte because of the presence of president Sepp Blatter at the Mineirao Stadium for the game.

“FIFA is in constant contact with local authorities and has full trust in the security arrangement that have been made,” football’s governing body said.

Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the “Football for Hope” forum in Belo Horizonte, which Blatter was going to attend, was canceled.

Minas Gerais state officials said they will increase to nearly 6,000 the number of law enforcement officials deployed to try to keep the protests peaceful near the stadium and across the city of nearly 3 million people in south-central Brazil.

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