Stern measures against World Cup protestors

Protesters have been warned that they will face a hail of rubber bullets if they engage in violent, unplanned protests during next year's World Cup.

World Cup protestors

Only six months remain until the start of the World Cup, but questions remain over security and the stadia being used at the tournament in Brazil.

Over a million protesters, angry at the money the government has spent on the World Cup among other issues, spilled on to the streets of Brazil during the Confederations Cup in the summer.

Some of those protests turned ugly. Police used batons and water cannons to try to repel the protesters, and in some cases they even fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the angry mob.

Although rubber bullets are obviously less lethal than metal ones, they can kill.

Anarchist movement Black Bloc have warned that they will try to interrupt proceedings during the World Cup, and security is tight around the plush Costa do Sauipe resort where the draw is taking place on Friday.

But should they cause trouble next summer, protesters will be met with force, according to World Cup security adviser Andre Pruis, who helped in the planning of the largely trouble-free 2010 World Cup.

"If crowds get violent, do you think a water cannon is going to disperse them?" he said, shrugging his shoulders

"You have to disperse them. A rubber bullet is a low level of action.

"It hurts, but what are police going to do? Use a pea shooter? Or water cannons? It doesn't work up to a point."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter pledged 100 million US dollars (£61million) to Brazil after being taken aback by the level of the protests during the Confederations Cup.

Pruis, who has worked in law and order for over 20 years before helping FIFA, thinks the protests were small fry compared to what happened at the Marikana mine in his homeland of South Africa.

There, eight people died following violent clashes between police and striking miners in September 2012.

"Now that is (an example of) something getting ugly," he said.

"I thought Brazil dealt with the protesters well.

"There were no serious injuries and no-one was killed and they prevented disruption of the tournament."

Government and officials from the local organising committee united to insist the World Cup would be safe for the millions of fans who will enjoy the tournament.

Brazilian justice minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo revealed that fans who misbehave will be fast-tracked through the courts just as they were in South Africa.

The main concern for England manager Roy Hodgson, who lands in Salvador on Wednesday ahead of Friday's draw, will be the safety of his players.

The 66-year-old will base his squad in Rio, where a large chunk of the violent protests took place in the summer.

Unlike his predecessor Fabio Capello, Hodgson likes his squad to go out and mix with the local population at major tournaments.

That was the case during Euro 2012, when the Three Lions were based in Krakow.

Brazilian sports minister Aldo Rebelo raised a few eyebrows on Wednesday when he conceded that thugs will target Rio, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

He also said it was a "horrible fact" that robbery and rape occur in Brazil.

Yet, despite these fears, Pruis reckons England will not have any trouble if they want to rub shoulders with the locals

"Yes, it will not be a problem (to do that again)," Pruis said.

"Everyone is mixing with the local population here and it is no problem. I think they could do it again."

The other main concern for organisers is regarding stadia.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said earlier this week that the venues in Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Cuiaba would not be ready in time for the deadline at the end of the year.

A crane at the Sao Paulo stadium collapsed last week, killing two people.

Aldo is not concerned about the possibility of the venues not being ready, though.

"There are some problems, in Sao Paulo and Curitiba, but nothing that will compromise the delivery of the stadia," he said.

"We will have time to hold test events if the stadia are delivered in January."



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