Violence mars anti-World Cup protests in Brazil

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In the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo, isolated acts of violence marred an otherwise peaceful protest against the country’s staging of this year’s football World Cup.

Protesters rocked an empty police car as they tried to overturn it. TV pictures showed another powerful image as a Volkswagen Beetle became engulfed in flames.

In Rio, police prevented protesters from breaking into a shopping mall on Saturday evening.

The trouble came at the end of the year’s first major rally against the billions spent on hosting the tournament.

Some “black block” anarchists were among the marchers in Sao Paulo earlier in the day.

The overall number was only a fraction of the 20,000 who had signed up on Facebook to attend.

But their protest remains loud.

“The World Cup year will be a year of struggle. I think that in the run-up to the tournament, we will have a lot of fights and many demonstrations. And this all reflects what happened last June,” said demonstrator Filipe Alencar.

During the World Cup’s dress rehearsal tournament the Confederations Cup last year, more than a million Brazilians joined protests against high public transport fares, poor public services and political corruption.

This time the numbers in Rio de Janeiro and other cities were in the hundreds.

But it shows that frustration remains over what protesters see as the not-so-beautiful game.

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