Football

Chaos in Sao Paulo

Police fire tear gas to break up protest

Brazilian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a protest on Friday near the airport in Sao Paulo, the city hosting the World Cup opener in less than a month.

Scores of protesters torched at least two vehicles and launched fireworks at police in a clash in the Taboao neighbourhood, in the Guarulhos area, police said.

Protesters were demanding better living conditions, according to local media.

"They looted fireworks and ignited them and threw them at police. There were no reports of injury but some vehicles were damaged," a police spokesman said.

She estimated the number of demonstrators to be around 50.

Sao Paulo's Guarulhos airport has just opened a new international terminal to handle the flood of foreigners expected to arrive for the World Cup, which starts on June 12.

MAJOR TEST

A series of protests have shaken Brazil ahead of the month-long tournament.

Brazil faced a major test of its security preparations last Thursday as 10,000 demonstrators, angry at the huge cost of hosting the World Cup, took to the streets in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Rio and Sao Paulo.

In Sao Paulo, the country's business hub, about 6,000 people staged several marches throughout the day, with some leading to clashes with police and acts of vandalism.

In the north-eastern city of Recife, a partial strike by military police was lifted after youths took advantage of the opportunity to loot stores and go on a rampage.

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo assured reporters that demonstrations will decrease during the World Cup and the country will adopt a festive atmosphere.

About 600,000 foreign visitors are expected for the tournament, in addition to about three million Brazilians who will travel domestically for the matches.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has also said the risks for German fans travelling to Brazil are minimal.

He advised them to paint their faces black, red and gold, and be "polite and reserved".

In an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper published yesterday, de Maiziere, who is also responsible for sport, said: "You may not be able to go to every part of every city... but I'm very sure that fans who are polite and excited about football will be received very warmly in Brazil."

Despite the high rates of crime, Brazil was doing everything to secure the safety of players and fans, he said.

Germany would send a small number of police to monitor German fans for known hooligans. - Wire Services.


I’m very sure that fans who are polite and excited about football will be received very warmly in Brazil.

— German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere