Belo Horizonte, Brazil • Demanding better public services and angered by World Cup costs, about 100,000 people are expected at a protest Wednesday before Brazil plays Uruguay in the Confederations Cup semifinals. Local officials have declared a holiday in Belo Horizonte and authorities say they are expecting confrontations with the demonstrators.
Belo Horizonte has had some of the most violent clashes between police and protesters since the country was swept by a wave of demonstrations calling for better education, transport and health services. There were no major protests in the city Tuesday, but groups closed three main roads demanding that public officials pay more attention to them.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter will be in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday. Football's governing body said that security has been increased because of the protests, but it wasn't immediately known if any changes were expected in Belo Horizonte because of Blatter's presence. Messages sent to FIFA on Tuesday were not immediately answered.
"I'm in favor of the protests," Brazil striker Fred said Tuesday. "The people deserve better. But it has to be done without violence and without vandalism. Hopefully the demonstrations will be peaceful tomorrow, without confrontations with the police."
Protesters have filled cities across the country to air a wide spectrum of grievances, including the high cost of hosting next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.