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Brazil Sends Federal Police to Suppress Protests

A demonstrator jumps over trash set afire during protests against poor public services, police violence and government corruption, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, June 18, 2013.
Brazil is deploying federal police to protect Confederations Cup football venues, as mass protests against government spending turned violent.

In Brazil's most populous city, Sao Paulo, 50,000 people massed at the main cathedral. While mostly peaceful, the demonstration followed protests that drew 250,00 people across the country Tuesday, with small bands of radicals splitting off to fight with police and break into stores.

The Justice Ministry says the National Force special police will be sent to five of the six cities where the Confederations Cup tournament is being played.

The first of the demonstrations was called last week to protest the high cost of public transport. Brazilians say they are weighed down by high taxes and high prices, but get low-quality public services and government corruption.

Demonstrators are also angry at the government for spending billions of dollars to host next year's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics, while leaving other needs unmet.

Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, publicly vowed Tuesday to listen to the complaints.

The Confederations Cup opened June 15 and lasts for two weeks. Eight national teams from around the world are participating.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.