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Brazil to deploy elite police following mass demonstrations

200,000 have taken part in rallies against lavish government spending, a year before the country is due to stage the World Cup.

A man holds a banner that reads:
A man holds a banner that reads: "No violence Brazil, peace and love" at a protest in Sao Paulo
Image: Nelson Antoine/AP/Press Association Images

BRAZIL WILL DEPLOY a special police force to help provide security for the Confederations Cup soccer tournament following mass protests against government spending, according to the state news agency.

Officers belonging to the National Force, a branch of the federal police deployed in cases of social unrest, will be sent to five of the six cities where the tournament will be played.

The government reaction is notable given that the Confederations Cup is seen as a dry run for the World Cup next year.

The National Force, composed of police and firefighters from different states that are called up for duty on special occasions, is a “conciliatory, mediating” force, “not repressive,” the Justice Ministry said.

The special police will be sent to cities in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Ceara and the capital Brasilia.

A protester holds a sign that reads “Wake up Brazil” at a rally in Mexico City (Image: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/AP/Press Association Images)

National Force police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a protest Sunday in Rio, after tens of thousands took part in rallies against the huge cost of hosting the 2014 World Cup.

More than 200,000 people marched across the country to vent their anger at government’s lavish spending. The demonstrations – initially triggered by a hike in bus fares – are the largest in Brazil in 20 years.

Solidarity protests by Brazilian nationals have been held in cities around the world. Around a thousand people took part in a rally on Dublin’s O’Connell Street on Sunday, organised by the Facebook group Brazilian Awakening.

The Confederations Cup began last Friday and lasts for two weeks. Eight national teams from around the world are participating.

(Additional reporting by AFP)

Read: Less than a year to World Cup, Brazil rocked by massive protests

Read: 100,000 protest in Brazil over cost of hosting sporting events

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