By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As hosts Brazil defeated world champion Spain in the Final of 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup on Sunday, June 30th, protests continued around Rio’s famed Maracanã Stadium. Although smaller than in previous weeks and mainly peaceful, there were periods of tension.
Demonstrations included less participants than expected after an estimated 10,000 officers and army troops were deployed in anticipation of the day’s events.
Sunday began with some 5,000 protesters assembling in Praça Saens Peña located in the Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhood of Tijuca. Carrying signs calling for an end to corruption and against the privatization of the Maracanã, among other things, they marched peacefully down Rua São Francisco Xavier without incident.
At around 3PM a second group assembled in Praça Saens Peña. That group of an estimated thousand participants made their way towards the stadium beginning at 5PM. An hour later, the group ran into a barrier made of military and Força Nacional (National Force) officers stationed a block from the stadium.
The officers did not permit the protesters to move forward as they were only allowing passage to the final game ticket-holders. Problems reportedly began at around 6:30 PM when members of the group, then totaling an estimated 1,200, began to throw rocks and other objects, reportedly including a Molotov cocktail, at the barricade.
The officers responded with tear gas, shock grenades and rubber bullets. Some ground level workers and volunteers at Maracanã Stadium reportedly were affected but it seemed to have little impact on the game inside.
According to the Military Police three officers were injured during the clash and the Shock Battalion seized seventeen Molotov cocktails. One man was also taken to the 18th Precinct after he allegedly stole a journalist’s camera. An official number of protesters injured has not yet been released.
Exit from the stadium for all spectators after Brazil’s win and the award ceremony was reportedly peaceful and without incident.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.