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Brazil begins World Cup preparations amid protests

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2014 at 6:15 pm •  Published: May 26, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — The Brazil squad's preparations for a World Cup on home soil got underway Monday amid chants of protests instead of support.

The players selected by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari reported to the national team as a few hundred demonstrators loudly protested against the money being spent by the local government on the World Cup.

The protesters surrounded the bus carrying the players from their hotel in Rio de Janeiro to the training camp in the mountain city of Teresopolis, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) away.

The demonstrators slowed the bus down as it tried to leave and then got close enough to attach dozens of stickers with slogans against the World Cup on the vehicle, including the windows. They also chanted and held anti-World Cup banners, including one that read: "There will be no World Cup, there will be a strike."

"It was just a minor problem," said Brazil assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to the 1994 world title. "I'm sure that everyone will be supporting the national team. Nobody is going to be against it."

The demonstrators were comprised mostly of teachers and education officials demanding better schools and other improvements from the local government.

There were a few protesters when the team arrived in Teresopolis, too, but there were also supporters in place to welcome the players.

Last year's Confederations Cup, a World Cup warm-up tournament held in Brazil, was marked by violent protests against the government. More are expected next month during the World Cup, although FIFA and local organizers have pledged to try to prevent the tournament from being affected.

Heavy security is in place at Brazil's training camp in Teresopolis, which was completely renovated for the event. A police helicopter hovered overhead as the bus carrying the players arrived.

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