Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil probes police shooting of man after World Cup protest

Anti riot police officers fire rubber bullets after clashes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 20, 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brazil alleges Fabricio Chaves was shot when he approached an officer with a box cutter.

Authorities in Brazil have launched an investigation into the shooting by police of a man on Saturday, following a protest in Sao Paulo against this year's football World Cup.

Relatives say Fabricio Chaves, 22, is in a critical condition in hospital.

The authorities claim he was carrying an explosive device and tried to flee. They allege he was shot when he moved towards an officer with a box cutter.

A human rights official said the officers may have used excessive force.

On Saturday, police arrested more than 130 people after clashes that followed a peaceful demonstration against the hosting of the World Cup.

Shops, banks and vehicles were damaged.

'Police overreacted'

The Sao Paulo State Department of Public Safety said that Mr Chaves had fled and was followed by two officers after they found an "explosive device" in his backpack.

"The man pulled out a box cutter from the pocket of his trousers and turned against one of the police officers," it said in a statement.

"It was then that the police shot him and the suspect fell to the ground."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many Brazilians are angry at the high cost of hosting the World Cup in Brazil

Carlos Weis, a human rights lawyer for the Sao Paulo State ombudsman, said he believed the police had overreacted.

"There were three police officers against one person with a hand weapon," he was quoted as saying by the city's Estadao newspaper.

"Clearly, there were other less lethal methods of resolving the situation. We are hugely concerned with the violent and excessive way the police have acted," he added.

Saturday's violence forced the authorities to cancel some of the festivities planned for the city's 460th anniversary.

There were also small protests in other Brazilian cities that were largely peaceful.

Demonstrators say huge sums of money are being wasted on World Cup stadiums while areas such as health and education are not getting enough.

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