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Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:16PM
Brazilians protest in Belo Horizonte on June 26, 2013.

Brazilians protest in Belo Horizonte on June 26, 2013.

Brazilians have begun to protest in the city of Belo Horizonte with authorities expecting over 100,000 protesters ahead of a semi-final Confederations Cup game. The protesters blocked roads and set fire to a bus early Wednesday in the state capital of Minas Gerais. State authorities have assigned 1,500 soldiers and 5,700 police and firefighters to patrol the city during the day. The governor of Minas Gerais, Antonio Anastasia, said that authorities were determined to keep the demonstrators two kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the stadium. Other rallies are planned in more than 12 Brazilian cities, including the country’s capital Brasilia. The protests erupted on June 11, when people in Sao Paulo took to the streets to condemn a price hike in public transport. The unrest spread quickly spread across the nation as protesters also voiced their anger over the high cost of the World Cup, poor public service and political corruption. On several occasions, Brazilian police resorted to tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. In a bid to end the unrest, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged on June 21 to improve public services and to fight harder against widespread corruption in the country. However, Brazilians were not swayed by her proposed reforms as new demonstrations have since been staged. Protest organizers have vowed to continue demonstrations until concrete steps are taken to reform the political system as numerous social media call for a general strike on July 1. CAH/KA
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