RIO DE JANEIRO -- RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian police can control any protests during next year's World Cup, a top executive for soccer's governing body said Thursday.
There were violent protests around the Confederations Cup in June, and FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said he was satisfied with the police response.
Demonstrators took to the streets daily, reaching a million one day. They questioned why Brazil is spending billions to organize the World Cup — and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 — in a country with high taxes and poor public services.
Weekly protests have continued across Brazil since the Confederations Cup, the latest on Monday when police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up protests in Rio and Sao Paulo. The protests were initially organized by striking teachers.
"What has happened at the Confederations Cup and the way the authorities reacted was definitely very good and gave confidence to all the teams, commercial partners and all of us on the capacity to control such situations," Valcke said in Rio.
Valcke was accosted by 50 protesters on Monday when he toured a stadium in Cuiaba in west-central Brazil. Protesters scribbled protests slogans on freshly poured concrete — just feet from where the field will be.
"World Cup. Why?" was one message.
Another read: "Less Cup, More Health and Education."
A banner paraded around the stadium read: "FIFA, Go Home."
Valcke defended the right of Brazilians to protest, even during the World Cup, but only if they are peaceful.
"What do you want us to do? What do you want me to say about it? It is happening. Will it happen at the World Cup? I hope not, but potentially it could happen. There could be demonstrations during the World Cup."
Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, sitting alongside Valcke, criticized reporters for focusing on the negative and for "almost rooting things don't go right."
"They (demonstrations) might happen," Rebelo said. "Yes, it's possible. But they might not happen also. ... Brazil, even having to deal with the problems of the demonstrations — like what happened in June — I think Brazil can have a World Cup in a peaceful environment."
Former World Cup winner Ronaldo, who has been living in London for several months, said foreigners seemed more enthused about the World Cup than locals.
"What I have seen and heard abroad is a lot of enthusiasm from people," he said. "What I see abroad is very different from what I see here inside Brazil and what is being shown in the media. ... Of course, the population wants other things like education and security. But people also want to see the World Cup. This is a difficult moment with people going to the streets demanding their rights."
World Cup organizers said almost 6.2 million ticket requests had been made in the first phase of sales. Officials said 70 percent were from Brazil.
"There's a wish for the world to attend this World Cup," Valcke said.
He reiterated that he expected six stadiums being readied for the World Cup to be handed over to FIFA by a Dec. 31 deadline. Six other stadiums for the World Cup were used for the Confederations Cup and are ready to go.
He said a stadium being built in Curitiba in southern Brazil was under "permanent monitoring" by the organizing committee. He added that grass at the stadium in Brasilia had to be improved.
"The quality of the pitch in Brasilia is not what you are expecting," Valcke said. "We have more than enough time to make sure the pitches will be good."
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Earlier on HuffPost:
Caipirinhas, a liquor made from sugarcane, gives these drinks their distinctive flavor. In Brazil it is traditional to make caipirinhas one or two at a time, as we do here. For ease of entertaining, however, you can simply combine all the ingredients in a pitcher. Ingredients: 4 limes 1/2 cup sugar Ice cubes 1 1/2 cups cachaça (from a 500-ml bottle) Directions: Quarter 1 lime lengthwise, then cut each quarter in half crosswise and divide pieces between 2 (6-ounce) glasses. Add 1 tablespoon sugar to each glass, then muddle lime pieces by pounding and pressing with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved. Fill each glass with ice and add 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cacha§a to each, stirring well. Make 6 more cocktails in same manner. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/caipirinhas_n_1055779.html" target="_hplink">Source: HuffPost Taste</a>
Appetizer: Empadinhas de Palmito
These "little empanadas" tend to be rounder than their Colombian or Argentine counterparts. The filling is usually a Brazilian ingredient called hearts of palm, but shrimp and codfish are also frequently used. These baked pastries can take up to half an hour to make and may require some extra effort in finding the exotic ingredients, up to the challenge? <a href="http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/empadinhas.htm" target="_hplink">Check out the full recipe. </a>
Main Dish: Feijoada
Brazil's national dish! Feijoada has no true translation but it's known as a stew of beans and meat (pork or beef usually). As delicious as the end result may be, make sure you leave plenty of time to prepare it! Ingredients are endless and preparation complicated, to simplify the process watch the "How To" video. Epicurious' Around the World in 80 Dishes takes you to Brazil with a demonstration of a recipe for Feijoada prepared by Lynne Gigliotti of The Culinary Institute of America, part 1.
Side Dish: Pão de Queijo
Pão de Queijo is simply "Cheese Bread" (yea we think it sounds tastier in Portuguese too), this dish is a staple in Brazil and is often served as a snack. Cheesy, warm, and filling--the only problem is where do we find tapioca starch? Ingredients: 3 cups tapioca starch 3 eggs 1 cup milk 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling <a href="http://www.cynthiapresser.com/brazilian-recipes-south-american-cuisine/brazilian-appetizers/219-brazilian-cheese-bread-pao-de-queijo" target="_hplink">Check out the full recipe.</a>
A little chocolate to end a feast? After making Feijoada and these other typical Brazilian dishes you're probably exhausted. But not to worry this traditional candy is easy to make! Ingredient: 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 tablespoon butter 3 tablespoons cocoa chocolate sprinkles Preparation can be done in four short steps. <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/brigadeiro-62222" target="_hplink">Check out the full recipe.</a>