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Brazil: Protests highlight Brazil independence day

8th Sep 2013

Brazilians have taken to the streets in protest on the country’s independence day. Police responded with tear gas, but the demonstrations largely lacked the turnout of rallies earlier this summer.

Security was heightened across Brazil on Saturday ahead of the protests, particularly in the capital Brasilia, where President Dilma Rousseff was participating in a military parade. Several thousand demonstrated in the city, as well as a few hundred in Rio de Janeiro and several other locations. .

Like Saturday’s demonstration, the protests earlier this summer that drew 1 million people focused in part around football. Many Brazilians are angry about the enormous sums of money being spent to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, instead of on improving public transportation, education and healthcare for the poor.

More than 1,000 anti-corruption protesters marched to Congress and clashed with police in Brasilia, the same city where Brazil was hosting Australia in an international football match.

Several hundred protesters tried to break through a police cordon outside the Mane Garrincha stadium before the match kicked off, but were turned back by teargas and extra security forces. At least four people were hurt and 24 were taken into custody, according to authorities.

In downtown Rio, more than 100 protesters invaded parade stands and were met with police teargas and stun guns. Health authorities said 13 people were injured, while police said they’d arrested at least 24 protesters.

Turnout was significantly lower on Saturday than the demonstrations during the Confederations Cup in June, with organizers saying many people were turned away by the large police presence.

Rousseff has seen her popularity drop considerably from 60 percent to 30 percent since the protests earlier this summer, though a concentrated campaign promising more public investment and political reform has helped bump her approval rating back up to 36 percent.

dr/av (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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