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China Daily Website

Brazil Protests intensify before Confed Cup semifinal

2013-06-27 07:15

By (Xinhua)

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- As Brazil's national soccer team prepares for its match against Uruguay as part of the Confederations Cup games Wednesday afternoon, anti- government protesters outside the stadium are ready for a battle of their own.

Hours before the game, residents of Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais state, started gathering for a protest march to local Mineirao Stadium, where the match will be held.

Police estimated some 50,000 people gathered for the protest, but that figure could rise over the next few hours.

Many shops around the stadium have already closed their doors in an attempt to stave off damage.

The police is guarding the stadium, but it is not known whether that will be enough to guarantee that things will run smoothly.

The Army is also guarding federal buildings near the stadium, such as the Minas Gerais Federal University (UFMG).

There are concerns about the possibility of a clash between the protesters and police.

Previous protests in Belo Horizonte ended in violent clashes, especially on June 20, when more than 100,000 people spilled into the streets in demand of better public services and against high public spending on the Confederations Cup and the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Belo Horizonte was not the only city holding protests Wednesday. In the capital Brasilia, the main government buildings, such as the presidential palace, Congress building and Foreign Ministry, are being protected by hundreds of police officers.