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Jun 15, 2014

Brazil police shoot live rounds

Brazilian police clash with anti-World Cup protesters before the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- A police officer can be seen on an Associated Press video firing what appeared to be a live pistol round at anti-World Cup protesters Sunday near Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.

During the small but violent and chaotic protest that played out about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the stadium, another man in plainclothes who identified himself as a police officer also pulled a pistol and fired two shots into the air.

Pedro Dantas, a spokesman for the Rio government agency that oversees all security forces, said it would have no comment until it could review the video. He said there had been no reports of any shooting victims during the protest.

The action took place around the beginning of the game between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina -- the first World Cup match played in Maracana stadium since 1950.

"We're seeing tonight the same police brutality we've seen during the past year, and that's why we have to keep protesting,'' said Karen Rodrigues, a 23-year-old student at the demonstration that drew around 200 people. Another protest occurred in the capital, Brasilia, but drew only a handful of participants, and a small protest also was held in Porto Alegre.

Mass protests broke out across Brazil during last year's Confederations Cup tournament, the warm-up to FIFA's premier event. At that time, more than 1 million Brazilians took to the streets on a single day in the largest demonstrations this South American nation had seen in a generation.

But those mass protests died down after about two weeks. Since then, hundreds of smaller, violent protests have been seen across the country, though primarily in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

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