June 19, 2013
The Brazilian government will deploy National Public Security Force in five cities hosting the FIFA football tournament in an effort to contain the ongoing protests across the country.
The announcement by the Brazilian Justice Ministry comes after a day of violent clashes between protesters and riot police.
The ministry decided to deploy the joint federal police force on Wednesday in response to violent rioting across the country. The troops will reportedly be tasked with mediating the conflict, rather than punishing protesters.
The National Public Security Force is usually deployed in Brazil to address serious security crises, such as prison riots or major gang violence.
The protests were sparked earlier this month by a hike in public transport fees and escalated  into a massive anti-government movement, with hundreds of thousands of people marching to express anger at the state’s policies.
The cost of hosting the World Cup in Brazil is one of the key issues of the protest – demonstrators say the money would have been better spent on alleviating public problems, rather than on a major sporting event.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff tried to defuse tensions on Tuesday, saying that her government is looking to the people and is willing to act on the demonstrators’ grievances. “The size of yesterday’s demonstrations shows the energy of our democracy, the strength of the voice of the streets and the civility of our population,” the president said in a televised address.
She went on to condemn the incidents of violence, and called on the demonstrators to protest peacefully.