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Jun 24, 2013

FIFA sticking to World Cup plan

There were more violent scenes in Rio de Janierio as protesters clashed with riot police

RIO DE JANEIRO -- FIFA has defended keeping the 2014 World Cup in Brazil despite civil unrest during the test event, and says no "official offers" have been received from countries to step in to host the tournament.

More than a million Brazilians have taken to the streets during the Confederations Cup to protest about the lack of investment in public services compared with the billions of dollars being spent on the World Cup project.

FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke says he is "not ashamed about what we are doing" in Brazil.

Tear gas and rubber bullets have been fired at some demonstrators, leading to increased security around venues.

Valcke insists "there is no Plan B and ... I have never received any official offer from any other countries" to stage the 2014 tournament.

On Monday, protests were breaking out again in Brazil just before Brazil president Dilma Rousseff's first meeting with some members of the protest movement.

Demonstrations on Monday blocked access to Brazil's biggest port in Santos, on the Sao Paulo state coast. It wasn't clear how many demonstrators were involved.

Protests were also seen in at least four other states, with more expected as the day goes on.

In Brasilia, Rousseff's office says she'll meet in the early afternoon with members of the Free Fare Movement. That's the group that ignited the original protests in Sao Paulo against a hike in public transport fares.

Despite having the fare hike reversed in several cities, the group says it will continue to fight for its objective of free transportation for all.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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