Brazil: Protesters get support from players as country hosts Confederations Cup
SAO PAULO (AP):
The historic wave of protests that have swept across Brazil in recent days have gained the support of players of the Brazilian national football team.
Scattered street demonstrations popped up around Brazil as protesters continued their collective cry against the low-quality public services they receive in exchange for high taxes and rising prices.
Brazil is hosting the Confederations Cup, a tournament of continental champions which serves as a warm-up for next year's World Cup.
However, the Brazilian players' focus has turned to the demonstrations which have taken over a country fighting for improvements in basic services such as public transportation, schools and hospitals.
The Brazilian players had been trying to avoid the subject, but it has become impossible to avoid.
"After seeing the people on the streets claiming for improvements, it makes me feel like joining them," Brazil striker Hulk said. "They are doing the right thing, what they are saying makes sense and we have to hear them. Brazil needs to improve, we all know that."
The protest disrupted fans' efforts to access the stadium for Brazil's second match at the World Cup warm-up tournament.
Fortaleza, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Brasilia have received soldiers from Brazil's elite National Force to bolster security during tournament games.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged protesters Wednesday to stop linking their anger against the government to the Confederations Cup.
The cost of building stadiums for the FIFA tournaments has been a regular complaint at marches.
Groups of Brazilians have also staged small protests in other countries, including Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Denmark.
A cyber-attack knocked the government's official World Cup site offline Tuesday, and the Twitter feed for Brazil's Anonymous hackers group posted links to a host of other government websites whose content had been replaced by a screen calling on citizens to come out to the streets.
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