Joedson Alves/Reuters

Indigenous people, Brasília police clash

Police fired tear gas into protesters as they approached new stadium that will host World Cup matches

Indigenous people clashed with police in the capital of Brazil Tuesday, resulting in one officer being shot in the leg with an arrow and the cancellation of a ceremony to open the exhibition of the World Cup trophy.

Indigenous activists were upset about legislation before congress that threatens to shrink the size of some reserves for indigenous groups.

They were joined by demonstrators rallying against Brazil's hosting of the World Cup. Many Brazilians are angered about the billions being spent on the tournament, saying the money should have gone to improving Brazil's public services.

In clashes, broadcast live on television, riot police fired tear gas into small pockets of protesters as they approached Brasilia's new stadium that will host Cup matches. The cost of building Brasilia's World Cup stadium has nearly tripled to $900 million in public funds, largely due to allegedly fraudulent billing, government auditors have said.

Protesters were seen picking up the gas canisters and tossing them back at officers, along with stones and pieces of wood. Violent protests have marked the run-up to the World Cup which begins June 12.

Some of the demonstrators were armed with bows and arrows, and fired a few arrows at mounted police, one of which hit an officer in the leg. Authorities said surgery was required to remove it.

Activist groups told the newspaper Globo that at least two indigenous people were also injured, though it wasn't clear how it happened or the status of their condition.

The clashes, which drew about 300 demonstrators, ended by nightfall.

But the violence forced officials to call off a ceremony just outside Brasilia's stadium where the World Cup trophy was to be exhibited.

Brazil has seen almost daily protests in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. Last year, huge anti-government protests took over streets in dozens of cities during the Confederations Cup, which is international soccer's warm-up tournament for its premier event, the World Cup.

Recent protests have been far smaller than those seen last year, when a total of 1 million people took to the streets across Brazil on a single night.

The Associated Press

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