Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil's Dilma Rousseff shrugs off World Cup abuse

Dilma Rousseff at a ceremony in Brasilia Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Rousseff is running for re-election in October

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said that she will not be intimidated by "verbal aggression" shouted by crowds during the World Cup.

On Thursday she was the target of crude chants sung by part of the crowd who attended Brazil's victory over Croatia in Sao Paulo.

She said the chants were nothing to compare to what she had to endure in jail during military rule.

She is running for re-election in October.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country last year to protest against perceived overspending and corruption in preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host in 2016.

"I won't let verbal aggression bother me," she said.

"I won't be intimidated by insults that children and families shouldn't be hearing."

Torture in jail

Ms Rousseff said that the obscene chants, which could be clearly heard on television during the match, did not reflect the opinions of most Brazilians.

Image copyright AP
Image caption More than 60,000 people attended the opening match in Sao Paulo

She also made reference to the brutal violence she suffered in jail some 40 years ago.

"In my life, I have faced extremely difficult situations. Situations that pushed me to my physical limits. What I had to endure then was not verbal aggression, but physical aggression," she said.

The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant, Ms Rousseff was born into an upper middle class family in Belo Horizonte in 1947.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rousseff insists that she was never actively involved in armed operations

After the military seized power in 1964, she joined the underground left-wing resistance.

She was arrested in 1970 and and spent three years in jail where she was tortured.

In October 2010 Ms Rousseff became the first woman to be elected president of Brazil.

Opinion polls suggest that her popularity has declined over the past year, but she is still the frontrunner in October's presidential poll.

The main opposition candidate, Senator Aecio Neves, said that the jeering during the match reflected her "permanent bad temper in office and huge arrogance".

Dilma Rousseff "is in a way reaping what she has sown", he added.

The chants against Ms Rousseff could be heard during the opening ceremony and in the second half of the match.

World Cup organisers Fifa were also the target of abuse.

More on this story