Brazil police in Sao Paulo have clashed with protesters demonstrating against the billions of dollars being spent on the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Waving flags, carrying banners and chanting, “There will be no Cup,” crowds of demonstrators swarmed the streets of Sao Paulo on Sunday to protest against the football tournament that the country is set to host from June 12 to July 13.
According to local reports, the protest in central Sao Paulo began peacefully, with around 1,000 protesters gathering at Republica Square, but it degenerated after some protesters set barricades alight and smashed windows of banks.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets and made dozens of arrests to disperse the angry crowd. Four demonstrators and two police were reportedly hurt in the clashes.
Protesters say police used heavy-handed tactics against members of a group called the Black Block. Local journalists also complained of police knocking cameras from their hands and hitting them.
The demonstration, which is the latest example of simmering social tensions in the run-up to the World Cup, was far smaller than protests during the Confederations Cup, which brought over a million people to the streets last year.
In January, more than 2,000 people held a protest in Sao Paulo against the high cost of hosting the World Cup in the country.
Critics say the USD 11 billion being spent on the sport event should be invested in better health, education services, transportation, and housing in the country.
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