Protest blocks road in front of Brasilia stadium
RIO DE JANEIRO -- After violent protests in three cities heading into the warm-up event for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA expressed "full confidence" on Friday that Brazilian authorities have shown they can manage disorder in the streets.
There were clashes with police Thursday night in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro after thousands protested rising bus and subway fares. And in Brasilia, at the venue staging the opening match of the Confederations Cup on Saturday, some 200 people burned tires and blocked the main road, objecting to the cost of staging the showpiece FIFA events.
Civil disobedience has emerged as the early safety issue in a nation with a high murder rate and where armed robberies are common.
"We respect fully the right of everybody to protest," FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said. "We are monitoring the situation. We are in touch with the local authorities. We fully trust the local authorities and we have full confidence in what they are doing. ... They are ready for any circumstance."
Brazilian officials said the response to protests would be proportionate, denying excessive force was used during the confrontations Thursday.
In the streets of Sao Paulo's central area, police fired tear gas trying to disperse a crowd. Police said 40 people were detained, some possessing knives and gasoline bombs.
The clashes were less troublesome in Rio de Janeiro.
"We only act if there is any unlawful act that affects the population as a whole," Lt. Col. Marcelo Rocha of Rio de Janeiro's military police force said through a translator.
The Confederations Cup opens Saturday with Brazil playing Japan in Brasilia, where a cloud of black smoke rose near the stadium on Friday after the tire-burning incident. Protester Edson da Silva said the complaints were against "all the money that was spent by the government" to prepare the country for the World Cup.
AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Brasilia contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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