Friday, June 21, 2013

Brazil EXPLODES

from the Mail Online
More than a million Brazilians took to the streets of at least 80 Brazilian towns and cities in demonstrations that saw violent clashes and renewed calls for an end to government corruption and demands for better public services.

Riot police battled protesters in at least five cities, with some of the most intense clashes in Rio de Janeiro, where an estimated 300,000 demonstrators swarmed into the city's central area.

Television images showed police firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into crowds of young men, their faces wrapped in T-shirts. Other demonstrators were shown detained lying on pavements.

An 18-year-old man was killed in Sao Paolo state after a car drove through barricades.

The country's president Dilma Rousseff called off a visit to Japan to deal with the crisis.

Official estimates suggest that there were more than a million protesters out across the country in total.

In Brasilia, police struggled to keep hundreds of protesters from invading the Foreign Ministry as protesters lit a small fire outside.

Other government buildings were attacked around the capital's central esplanade, and police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets in attempts to scatter the crowds.

Clashes were also reported in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, in Porto Alegre in the south, in the university town Campinas, north of Sao Paulo, and in the north-eastern city of Salvador.

The protests took place a week after a violent police crackdown on a much smaller protests in Sao Paulo galvanised Brazilians to take to the streets.

The unrest is hitting the nation as it hosts the Confederations Cup football tournament with tens of thousands of foreign visitors in attendance.

It also comes a month before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the nation, and ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, raising concerns about how Brazilian officials will provide security.

In Salvador, police shot tear gas canisters and rubber bullets to disperse a small crowd of protesters trying to break through a police barrier blocking one of the city's streets.

One woman was injured in her foot. Elsewhere in Salvador 5,000 protesters gathered in Campo Grand Square.

Despite the energy on the street, many protesters said they were unsure how the movement would win real political concessions.

People in the protests have held up signs asking for everything from education reforms to free bus fares while denouncing the billions of public pounds spent on stadiums in advance of the World Cup and the Olympics.

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