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Jun 19, 2013

Brazil protests continue

Demonstrations have continued across Brazil with protesters notably blocking the main access road to the Arena Castelao, in Fortaleza where the Selecao defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Confederations Cup on Wednesday evening.

• Vickery: Protests a sign of divided Brazil ahead of World Cup
• Duarte: The Selecao no longer enough to mask Brazil's issues
•  Confederations Cup: Protests in Brazil gallery Photo Gallery

Traffic is being diverted away from the road by police where hundreds of protesters gathered and official FIFA vehicles are among those struggling to get to the north-eastern Brazilian stadium.

The protest is the latest of a wave in recent days and has been organised by groups demanding better public services and complaining about the local government. There are no reports of trouble yet but protests turned violent before the country's first match, in Brasilia, where Brazil ran out 3-0 winners against Japan.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told the protesters not to link their anger against authority with the Confederations Cup.

In an interview with Brazil's Globo TV network, he said: "They are linking them [the protests] to the Confederations Cup. I can understand that people are not happy, but they should not use football to make their demands heard."

The protests are aimed at the Brazilian government who plan to spend an estimated $13.3 billion on stadia, airport renovations and other upgrades in time for the 2014 World Cup while the social infrastructure of the country is neglected.

Blatter added: "Brazil asked to host the World Cup. We did not impose the word upon Brazil. They knew that to host a good World Cup they would naturally have to build stadiums.

"But we said that it was not just for the World Cup. Together with the stadiums there are other constructions: highways, hotels, airports ... items that for the future. Not just for the World Cup."

Blatter's name, along with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff's, were booed prior to the opening game of the tournament. However, Blatter has called for more respect to be shown.

"They could jeer FIFA's president. I don't care, because people could like or dislike the FIFA president," Blatter said.

"But the chief-of-state was there and I asked for a little bit of respect and a clean game. For her not me."

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