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The fireworks started at about 10:30 this morning which either means that large consignments of drugs are arriving or people are starting to get excited about the game today. The number of trucks blowing their horns as they pass by suggests the latter.

Preparations around the state capital are reaching their climax although it seems that rather too much reliance has been made on Google Translate for the preparations of menus and signs as illustrated by this collection put together by Mega Curioso featuring 16 hilarious translations of signs and notices made for the world cup.

Throughout the morning of the opening day protesters have started to gather, first at Carrao where one shirtless man cooly drinking a fizzy drink was arrested by a team of riot police who have clearly received considerably more training than was evident in the protests of a year ago. The police used tear gas bombs to disperse a group of protesters that were fewer in number than the hoards of photographers, cameramen and journalists mixing with the protesters despite requests by police to get out of the way. Unfortunately the journalists could not have understood the police shouting at them in Portuguese to get out of the way and a reporter from CNN was injured by shrapnel from one of the bombs.

Many of the cameramen were wearing protective helmets, a precaution adopted after a cameraman,  Santiago Ilídio Andrade, was killed when he was hiit in the head with a flare during protests on February 6.

As I write at about midday, the protests have moved to Tatuape, about 11km from the stadium,  where groups of young people the Globo news network is describing as ‘baderneiros’, rioters,  are taking the opportunity to smash up whathever they can find and are lighting fires in the streets. They’re actually nearer our house (9km) than they are the stadium.

I’ll update you all on the aftermath of both the riots and the game tomorrow as I’ll have drunk too much beer to write anything coherent this evening.

Enjoy the game!

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