World Cup stadium opens on a weekend marked by protests
The first World Cup stadium to be inaugurated in Brazil since the Confederations Cup has held its first two matches without major glitches, a day after demonstrators across Brazil protested against the tournament.
Officials say that Natal’s Arena das Dunas passed its first test and that only minor adjustments will be needed going forward.
Work was being done until the final moments before the inaugural matches, but the doubleheader between local clubs went on without problems in front of tens of thousands of fans.
On Saturday, about 1,000 people protested in São Paulo and smaller demonstrations took place in several other cities to complain about the costs of the World Cup.
Authorities had to respond with tear gas and rubber bullets and detained more than 100 people when protests turned violent in São Paulo, where demonstrators attacked an empty police vehicle, torched a small car and smashed the windows of banks.
In Natal, local media reported that 19 people were detained after demonstrators went to the Arena das Dunas and destroyed some protective fencing and started fires outside of the stadium.
The Arena das Dunas is the seventh World Cup stadium to be completed, with five yet to be finalized less than five months before the opener on June 12.
Local teams América-RN and ABC won their matches against Confiança and Alecrim respectively, with the first goal in the stadium being scored by América’s Adalberto.