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Protesters, Police Take To The Streets Of Rio As Brazil-Spain Ready To Face Off In Confederations Cup Final

posted 30 Jun 2013, 11:50 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 30 Jun 2013, 11:51 ]

Thousands of protesters take to the streets of Rio de Janeiro hours before Brazilface Spain in the Confederations Cup final at the iconic Maracana.

RIO DE JANEIROBRAZIL (JUNE 30, 2013) (REUTERS) - Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Sunday (June 30) in another day of protest, this time coinciding with the final day of FIFA's Confederations Cup.

Local news reports indicated that an estimated 5,000 were participating peacefully, slightly less than the tens of thousands that were expected to protest around theBrazil-Spain final being played in Rio's iconic Maracana stadium.

The movement that was initially sparked by a transportation fare hike has evolved to embrace a variety of social issues.

Demonstrators explained their motives for protesting.

"I am supporting the people's distaste for everything that is happening in politics. It began with a fare increase and has evolved to be against everything, principally against our political system that needs urgent reform," said Rosangela Freitas.

"Education, health care, FIFA, the democratization of democracy in Brazil. We need to define the directions we want our political system to take. The people's participation here today is proof that we can get off Facebook to change the face of politics in Brazil," said sociologist Jeferson Domingos.

"Rights, the exploitation of the people with the prices of Maracana, which is being privatized. The money that hasn't been going to public education, hasn't been going to public health," said professor Mariana Pereira.

The protests have been fuelled by widespread frustration with Brazil's education, health and transportation services, rising crime and cost of living, as well as perceived over-spending on stadiums that will host next year's World Cup football tournament.

As a result of the unrest the federal and local governments have announced a flurry of promises to improve public services and other measures aimed at quelling the protests.

Because Rio has been the locus of violence so far during the protest movement, several police equipped with riot gear monitored the protest march which some fear could turn violent after or during the game which begins at 7 p.m. local time (2200 GMT).

Several demonstrations have included clashes between police and protesters. Vandalism has at time been rampant and police have relied on tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse unruly crowds.