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Rio police reconsider limit on tear gas at demos

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm •  Published: July 18, 2013

The wave of protests began in Sao Paulo in early June over a 10-cent increase in bus and subway fares but quickly snowballed into big, nationwide demonstrations over long-simmering public dissatisfaction with government corruption, poor public services and a host of other complaints. Though mass demonstrations have largely died down, smaller but often violent protests continue in Rio and other cities.

The eruption of anger coincided with last month's Confederations Cup soccer tournament, which was a dry run for next year's monthlong World Cup that will have games in 12 Brazilian cities.

Law enforcement's handling of the protests has sparked questions about Brazil's readiness to host the World Cup as well as the 2016 Olympics in safety and without disruption, and any problems during Pope Francis' July 22-29 visit would intensify doubts.

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have already begun to descend on Rio to see the pope and attend World Youth Day, a semi-annual gathering of Roman Catholic young people. Some of the papal events are expected to draw as many as 1.5 million to 2 million people, and nearby protests could prove disruptive.