Foreign Office warns Brits over Brazil football protests

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British government department responsible for the welfare of British citizens overseas, has issued a warning for travellers to the main cities in Brazil.

The FCO has updated previous advice in the light of escalating protests in the South American country, which in some cases has resulted in violent confrontations between police and protestors. The semi-finals of the Confederation Cup football competition, which is currently being contested at venues around Brazil, are expected to be occasions of particular focus for protestors. The first semi-final is due to take place at 4 pm today in the city of Belo Horizonte, while the second is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday June 27, in Fortaleza.

The football tournament has been targeted by protestors who are critical of the amount of money that the country is spending on hosting the Confederation Cup, the forthcoming FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games, while they allege that public services, including transport and education, are being starved of funds. Four people have already been killed in the violent protests, which started as a modest demonstration in the city of Sao Paulo against an increase in bus fares. Now millions of angry Brazilians are taking to the streets, with the authorities warning that two further mass rallies are planned for 4 pm today, one in the city of Recife and the other in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

The FCO has warned Britons travelling in Brazil, ‘You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media, follow the guidance of local authorities and expect some disruption to travel.’