SAO PAULO (AP) — The latest stadium inaugurated for the World Cup in Brazil held its first two matches without major glitches on Sunday, a day after demonstrators across Brazil protested against the tournament.
The Arena das Dunas in the northeastern city of Natal sustained minor damage during the protests, but demonstrators stayed away on Sunday and officials said the stadium passed its first test, with only minor adjustments needed going forward.
Work was being done until the final moments before the inaugural match, but the doubleheader between local clubs in front of tens of thousands of fans was not affected.
Before the matches, local media reported that police arrested two men accused of firing shots at a group of rival fans a few kilometers from the stadium. No one was injured.
Demonstrators complaining about the costs of the World Cup destroyed some protective fencing and set fire to temporary tents outside the Arena das Dunas late Saturday. Local media reported security guards fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd. The Tribuna do Norte newspaper said 19 people were detained.
The protest was part of a nationwide movement by those opposed the level of spending on the World Cup. About 1,000 people protested in Sao Paulo and smaller demonstrations took place in several other cities. Demonstrators attacked an empty police vehicle, torched a small car and smashed the windows of banks in Sao Paulo. Authorities responded with tear gas and rubber bullets and detained more than 100 people in South America's biggest city.
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