Sao Paulo, June 17 (IANS/EFE): The Brazilian cities of Natal and Curitiba witnessed violent protests ahead of their World Cup matches.
Just before the start of the USA-Ghana match in Natal Monday night, riot police had to use force to keep away protestors who were protesting against the huge amount of money (approximately $11 billion) spent by the Brazilian government on the showpiece event, reports EFE.
The protest was called by public servants' union before Estádio das Dunas in Natal and several protestors were arrested by the riot police. Officials said the detainees tried to block roads leading to the stadium.
A journalist was released after being arrested for assaulting a police officer with a loudspeaker while interviewing one of the protest organisers.
In Curitiba, where Iran faced off with Nigeria, 14 protestors were arrested for vandalizing glass fronts of several banking companies near the Arena da Baixada after they were banned from approaching the arena.
Protests against the cost of the World Cup began before the tournament. They are still continuing in Brazil, with the protestors demanding salary raises and better public services and development of the public sector.