Ronaldo defends police force against World Cup protesters

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Ronaldo defends police force against World Cup protesters
Rio de Janeiro, May 30: Brazil's legendary footballer Ronaldo has defended the use of police force to quell violent protesters during the World Cup.

Brazilian police were widely criticised for firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse anti-government protesters during last year's Confederations Cup, reports Xinhua.

"As far as the vandals go, I think that we have to hit them and get them off the streets," Ronaldo told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo Thursday.

Protesters have vowed to return to the streets when football's showpiece tournament begins June 12. Many have expressed anger at the rising cost of staging the event while essential services like health and education continue to suffer from under-investment.

Ronaldo, a member of the World Cup local organising committee, rejected claims that demonstrators were against Brazil staging the quadrennial event.

And he joked that FIFA might not want to stage the World Cup in Brazil again after preparations for this year's tournament were plagued by worker deaths, planning delays and cost overruns.

"I think that non-violent protesters will watch the World Cup," the 37-year-old said. "Who here wants to miss that chance? Nobody is going to be alive when the World Cup comes back to Brazil. I think there probably won't be another World Cup here. FIFA has been traumatised."

IANS

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