Photo: BRAZIL: Car Dealership Set on Fire During Protests
A small group of protesters set fire to an auto dealership in this Brazilian city not far from where Brazil and Uruguay were facing off in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup soccer tourney.
The local press also reported looting and other fires in the area.
Previously a group of demonstrators threw rocks at the police and hurled Molotov cocktails near Mineirao stadium.
Some 50,000 people took part in the protest in Belo Horizonte, according to official figures.
Police set up a cordon some 3 kilometers (about 1.9 miles) in length around the stadium and blocked streets giving access to the site, allowing only people with tickets for the match to pass through.
Authorities reportedly deployed 5,567 police and 1,500 army troops to provide security for the match.
The security cordon and the decision to open the stadium’s gates four hours before kickoff allowed most ticket-holders to arrive without difficulty for the match.
The protests that are occurring daily in Brazil began on June 10 in Sao Paulo as a result of local authorities’ hiking of public transportation fares, but they quickly spread nationwide and other participants put forward new demands, including greater public investment in education and health care along with harsh criticism of corruption.
Another key issue that has brought millions of Brazilians into the streets to protest in recent days has been the government’s costly spending to organize high-profile sports events such as the 2014 soccer World Cup, and many of the demonstrations have been staged near the stadiums where the international Confederations Cup matches are currently being played.