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Brazilian police fire tear gas at World Cup protesters

By CNN Staff
June 12, 2014 -- Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT)
  • At least one arrested as protesters make their way to World Cup stadium
  • Critics angry at Brazil's government for spending $11 billion on World Cup
  • Protesters hope to pressure government to provide low-income housing

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- Brazilian police fired tear gas Thursday to hold back a small group trying to work its way through Sao Paulo to the Arena Corinthians stadium to protest the World Cup.

At least one person was arrested, CNN's Shasta Darlington reported from the scene, 7 miles (about 11 kilometers) from the stadium.

Darlington and producer Barbara Arvanitidis were slightly injured when one of the canisters hit them. Darlington suffered a minor cut on her arm, and Arvanitidis was hit on the wrist.

Critics are furious at the Brazilian government for spending $11 billion on the World Cup instead of low-income housing, hospitals and schools.

A patchwork of plastic tents has appeared on an empty piece of land less than 2.5 miles (about 4 kilometers) from the World Cup stadium. More than 3,000 families have joined the squatter settlement known as the "People's Cup," hoping to use the global sporting event as a platform to pressure the government to provide low-income housing.

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Residents said rents began to soar when the stadium was being built. Rents in Sao Paulo have risen by double digits in recent years, far outpacing the increase in minimum wage, which is $360 a month in the city.

In protests leading up to the games, the Homeless Workers Movement has become a major force in Sao Paulo, with marches of more than 10,000.

Weeks ago, there were violent protests in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Demonstrations were staged in 18 cities last month. The biggest and most violent was in Sao Paulo, where police shot tear gas and protesters threw rocks and smashed the windows of a car dealership and a bank.

Taking advantage of the global attention focused on the country for the world soccer championship, other groups have staged protests to air their grievances -- from striking teachers and police officers demanding higher wages to homeless activists.

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