Brazil President to Hold Emergency Meeting Over Worsening Protests

More than 1 million people gathered to protest corruption and the World Cup on Thursday evening.

Posted: 06/21/2013 12:31 PM EDT

More than 1 million protesters clashed with police in Brazil as ongoing demonstrations across the country reached historic heights on Thursday. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has postponed a trip to Japan to hold an emergency cabinet meeting in the capital, Brasilia.

Riot police have been firing tear gas and rubber bullets into massive crowds, resulting in a number of reported injuries. An 18-year-old died after a car crashed through a barricade in Sao Paulo.

Considered the country’s biggest protest in two decades, the widespread unrest stemmed from recent hikes in public transportation fares. City officials have since reversed the hikes to pacify the situation, but shared frustrations about national corruption and next year’s World Cup fueled further dissent.

The Confederations Cup, which launched earlier this week in several Brazilian cities, has also become a source of contention. Neither FIFA nor the local organizing committee have discussed any possibility of canceling the matches, FIFA told Reuters.

President Rousseff previously commended the protesters in a public statement on Tuesday, claiming that “Brazil has woken up a stronger country.” She has yet to address the nation since then, but some have speculated that the president will arrange a national radio speech following Friday’s cabinet meeting.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

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