SAO PAULO — Protesters and Brazilian police clashed in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday ahead of the first World Cup match, but the demonstrations largely died down before kickoff.
More than 300 demonstrators gathered along a main highway leading to the stadium in Sao Paulo. Some tried to block traffic, but police repeatedly pushed them back, firing canisters of tear gas and using stun grenades. The flow of traffic to the arena was not blocked.
Later, a group of fewer than 100 protesters gathered near a subway stop about 8 miles west of the stadium. No protests reported near the arena itself.
A few protesters suffered injuries after being hit by rubber bullets, while others were seen choking after inhaling tear gas. An Associated Press photographer was injured in the leg after a stun grenade exploded near him. CNN reported on its website that two of its journalists were also injured.
"I'm totally against the Cup," said protester Tameres Mota, a university student at the Sao Paulo demonstration. "We're in a country where the money doesn't go to the community, and meanwhile we see all these millions spent on stadiums."