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Plea From Brazil's President Fails to End Mass Protests

A plea for calm by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has failed to deter protesters who again took to the streets on Saturday.

Thousands of demonstrators chanted and waved banners in Belo Horizonte. Smaller rallies took place on Saturday in several other cities.

At Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, demonstrators placed hundreds of soccer balls in the sand.

Some of the protests have targeted the billions of dollars being spent for Brazil to host next year's World Cup, this month's Confederations Cup as well as the 2016 Olympic summer games.

Saturday's demonstrations erupted in spite of President Rousseff's call, late Friday, for an end to the unrest. In a nationally televised address, she said peaceful demonstrations are what make a strong democracy, but vowed that protest-related violence would not be tolerated.

Earlier Friday, she held an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the protests.

The emergency meeting came a day after at least one million demonstrators rallied in dozens of cities across Brazil, including Rio where police fired tear gas into a crowds of protesters.

The wave of protests was originally triggered by an increase in bus and subway fares, but protesters have since focused on what they say is the government's neglect of public services, high taxes and rampant corruption.

President Rousseff has already called off a trip to Japan planned for next week to respond to the protests, the country's biggest in two decades.

Protesters have been undeterred by the news that Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have scrapped plans to increase public transportation fees.


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