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Brazil creates World Cup riot force

Sunday, January 05, 2014

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Brazil has created a special riot force to help police control demonstrations expected during the World Cup later this year.

Colonel Alexandre Augusto Aragon, who heads the elite National Security Force, was quoted in local news on Friday as saying that 10,000 riot troops selected from state police forces throughout Brazil will be deployed in the 12 cities hosting World Cup games June 12-July 13.

"We have been concerned with this (security during the World Cup) before the protests that took place earlier this year, because we don't wait around for things to happen," he told the G1 internet portal.

"The violence of recent protests is what scared us."

At the peak of the protests, a million people took to the streets across Brazil in a single day, complaining initially of higher bus fares, corruption and poor public services, and then extending to the billions of dollars being spent on the World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"There will be no World Cup," became one of the mass movement's most popular chants. "FIFA go home." was another.

The demonstrations coincided with the Confederations Cup soccer tournament, a warm-up tournament for the World Cup.

Jerome Valcke, the top FIFA official in charge of the World Cup, said recently that the tournament would have "the highest level of security you can imagine" to contain any violence.

Valcke said he was satisfied with the police response during the protests that affected the six Confederations Cup host cities.

The tournament went on as scheduled and no match was disrupted.

He said he expects the same type of response if there are protests this year.

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