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Police arrest World Cup protesters

Monday, June 16, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - Police in Brazil have arrested at least 18 people at anti-World Cup protests and broke up a group of rowdy Argentine fans with pepper spray in Rio de Janeiro.

At one protest in Belo Horizonte, the southeastern city that hosted Saturday's match between Colombia and Greece, police arrested 15 people carrying petrol bombs, knives, masks and bottles of vinegar, which demonstrators use to relieve the effects of tear gas.

The group of about 200 people had been trying to march to the city's stadium.

In the northeastern city of Fortaleza, around 100 protesters approached the stadium where Costa Rica were playing Uruguay.

Police arrested three of them, said news website G1.

Some 1,500 Argentinian fans meanwhile partied on Rio de Janeiro's famous Copacabana beach ahead of their team's debut against Bosnia Sunday, G1 reported.

The fans blocked traffic at one point on beachside thoroughfare Atlantic Avenue, prompting police to use pepper spray to disperse them.

A Pope Francis impersonator could be seen at the Argentines' party, greeting revellers from a car and brandishing a replica World Cup trophy.

The real pope, an Argentine native, is a passionate football fan.

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